On graveyards…

On graveyards… September 19, 2011

I miss graveyards.

I mean the lovely ones, with hills and big oak trees and ornate above-ground shrines and stone caskets.

I love pebble paths between sections where I can read names of the centuries gone: Ann, who died in 1853.

I miss the graveyards behind the church, in the middle of the old East Coast town, mistaken for a park.

I love cities that don’t hide their dead on the edge of town: old cities, churches that understood the wholeness, completion of both baptism and burial on the same plot of land.

There are many things I miss about the East Coast (which I always miss the most this time of year…Philadelphia in the fall is perfection) but what I miss the most right now is the graveyards. Where are they in Austin? I haven’t seen them yet. I know Texas cities were late bloomers. They became themselves mostly during the 20th century and by that time it seemed reasonable to put the graveyard on the outskirts of town in a treeless plot, and stick a chain link fence around it.

It’s just that I’m a little homesick. For Syracuse? For Philadelphia? For San Francisco? I don’t know.

Don’t mind me, Austin. Really. I’m not trying to judge your depth based on where you bury your dead. Just consider this a lament from a girl who likes gravestones, who sometimes to needs to walk around them to remind herself that she will die too.

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