Thursday, May 17, 2012

On cemeteries

Necklace: Target | Sweater: JCPenney | Skirt: Ann Taylor Outlet | Heels: Urban Outfitters | Nails: butter London Tea with the Queen

I could say a lot today, but I'd rather discuss this.
I haven't thought much about cemeteries, nor spent much time in them. I think this is where the trouble starts for most of us. There's a real clinical privatization of cemeteries and death in general by Americans (I don't know if it's the same in other countries). In the book I'm currently reading, the author describes a game designed specifically for use in cemeteries. At first I thought it sounded kind of ridiculous--who would do that in a place of the dead?--but the more I thought about it and the more I read, the more I realized that cemeteries are for the dead, but they're about the living. Consider this: when you're dead, do you want your body (or your ashes, if you have those buried) to be left alone for all eternity, in a space where people thing your existence should be "respected"? The average grave is visited exactly twice after it is created. Twice ever. Or would you rather have running dogs, playing children, bike riders and joggers and picnickers hanging out six feet above you? I greatly prefer the prospect of the latter. I'll probably never see my grandfather's grave again, and that breaks my heart. But I would be happier to take solace knowing that other people are indirectly keeping his spot in the universe company, playing and running and using his cemetery as it was originally intended, as a public park. I may honestly be the first person to set foot in the cemetery in today's pictures in a year or so, I don't know. It's not in the best shape, unfortunately, as with most historical cemeteries. But I went, and visited, and socialized with the graves. And on my way out, I promised I'd come back. We, as humans, need to come back to our open spaces, especially at a time when everything is being built bigger and taller and more imposing. And the dead need us to come back and keep them company. I'll always be respectful--and last I checked, respect involved some sort of interaction. So I'll be there, sometimes with my camera, sometimes with a sandwich. Maybe sometimes with some friends to play a game. This stump is the right size for a Monopoly board, after all. But I refuse to fall under the privatization of mourning any longer; I prefer the public embrace of remembrance.

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