Today's Wonder of the World is...Old Cemeteries.
I don't know about you, but I love old cemeteries.
I've been thinking about cemeteries ever since church yesterday. We celebrated All Saints Sunday, which meant that our minister read out the names of those in the congregation who had died during the year, and family and friends stood in their honor. There was also a time for people to stand and say the name of anyone else they loved who had passed away since our last All Saints service. It was a sad but sweet service, and very meaningful.
All Saints Day was a big deal in France--sort of like the French Thanksgiving, in that people traveled to be with their families and eat a big meal together. They would lay flowers at the graves of their loved ones, and spend family time together, telling stories and remembering.
This might sound gloomy to you, but Todd and I used to enjoy pushing Sam in his stroller through one of Clermont's city cemeteries after lunch. (Yey French two hour lunch breaks!) After we moved home I wished I had taken pictures, but thanks to a Flickr friend, here it is...
Flickr photo by connyyeah
As you can see, it's beautiful!
Now that we're back in South Carolina, we're lucky now to have a beautiful old cemetery right within a stone's throw of our neighborhood. (See the first photo.) About 160 years ago, when cows roamed the pasture that is now our subdivision, a textile mill was built just down the river. The mill owners thought the workers should have a place to worship and built a Methodist church, and over the many years the congregation and the cemetery grew.
It's not as peaceful as it used to be. Nineteen years ago, when we first moved into the neighborhood, it was still out in the country. You hardly ever saw a car unless it was turning in to our subdivision. Now that Greenville and Greer have grown like crazy, we're practically in the middle of things.
Still, the cemetery feels quiet, even with cars rushing by.
The stones are beautiful. I always wonder about the families and their stories.
Usually I don't rant too much in this blog. (I save it for my sweet husband. Poor thing.)
I like to stay positive. Besides, this blog is about wonders, isn't it?
But...(here it comes)
Allow me to show you a maddening wonder.
It's not wonderful at all, though it used to be.
Just down the road about two miles from my house used to be the most beautiful family cemetery. I never even noticed it during our first two years in Greer because it was encircled by five or six huge old oak trees.
Here it is up close.
Two years ago, they started building all around it. First there was a CVS. Then a mini-strip mall, then a Walgreen's.
And then, last spring, they cut down all those big beautiful trees. They only left a couple, in the distance.
They put up a chain link fence around the tiny cemetery, as if that would protect it.
And here's the new neighbor on the other side. It's Walmart.
Now, I'm not really railing against Walmart. (Even though there's a perfectly good one about a mile and a half down the highway.) I'm just sad. This used to be a beautiful peaceful place and it's not anymore.
Okay. Enough of that. I think I'd like to cheer myself up now.
I know. Let's look at some other interesting cemeteries.
I believe I've shown you the one in Corsica, but here it is again, in case you missed it.
And here's the one in Normandy, where my grandfather is buried.
And last, but not least, a cemetery in Salzburg Austria.
Flickr photo by rotraud 71
I love that they plant flowers on their graves!
Not a bad use for the body left behind... flower food!
Have a wonder-full Monday, y'all!