Rest in peace

Winter is a good time, photographically, to visit cemeteries. The trees and ground are bare, and the grave stones and monuments stand out.

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I recently went for a long walk in the Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, MA. This 175-acre cemetery was founded in 1831 and has been designated a National Historic Landmark. It is an urban wildlife refuge and premiere birding destination. It is also an accredited arboretum and botanical garden.

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I look forward to revisiting in the spring, when new plant life is showing, but a walk there in winter allowed me to focus on the grave stones and statuary that abound in the cemetery.

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There is also an atmosphere of solitude and reflection present in this space, and the statuary shows various expressions of the grief that accompanies the loss of a loved one. I find that a black and white treatment of the photos reinforces the starkness and immediacy of the scene.

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I can image that immersing oneself in the beauty of the surroundings offers some solace to those who are visiting a grave.

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One site I found particularly touching was a pair of stones that simply said “Wife” and “Husband,” as if to say that their relationship was what really mattered, even more than their names. The text on the wife’s stone read, “At rest in heaven,” and the text on the husband’s stone read, “We shall meet in heaven to part no more.” Even in death one finds cause for hope.

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For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep…Console one another with these words.”                                      (I Thess 4:14,18)

(Color images were made last October.)

 

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