Life at the Cemetery

Cemeteries throughout history have been called cities of the dead (necropolis), but one of the reasons I like to spend time in them while still moving and breathing is related to the fact that they abound with life.

As stated before, graveyards tend to be verdant oases that provide habitat for many animals, and Evergreen Cemetery in Colorado Springs is no exception. I don’t want to belittle the sadness, sorrow, and longing we feel when we pay respect at the final resting places of our loved ones, but, at the same time, it’s a solace to be surrounded by signs that speak to us of aliveness.

The cycles of the seasons are echoed by the changing vegetation. Am I alone in finding consolation in the notion that my grave will, in turns, be covered with a soft blanket of snow in winter, a fragrant carpet of petals in spring, lush meadows in summer, and desiccating, crunchy leaves in autumn? That my limbs might grow into those of a tree and that those tree limbs will provide shelter and sustenance to countless creatures? That rabbits and deer will munch on the grasses I sprout and squirrels will play hide and seek in the canopy above me? That migratory birds will find rest and rations to fuel their journey? That the wind will whistle and the birds will serenade my eternal slumber?

Again, I harbor no death wish, but to know that our bodies are part of an intricate cycle and will be recycled into new life and energy might be a source of comfort. Mind you, I speak of our mortal shells only. What happens to our souls we have endeavored to comprehend ever since we have been endowed with the capacity for complex thought, but the mystery will remain until we find out—or not.

To enlarge a photo, click on it. To read its caption, hover the cursor over it.

42 thoughts on “Life at the Cemetery

  1. What a wonderful array of wildlife in your cemetery. Loved the series of images.

    Makes me wonder what our cemeteries have in the way of a similar life. No deer or squirrels of course, but I daresay there must be birds and small critters of some variety.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Vicki. I’m sure there will be wildlife in any cemetery that has trees and other habitat. I imagine that Australian cemeteries are no different in that regard. Maybe there is one nearby you could explore and report about, if that is manageable for you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • There are 2 cemetries in nearby suburbs, Tanja. Neither are easy to get to via public transport and with the lockdown and other COVID restrictions, I am pretty much home-based (more than ever this year). I can’t even get an sppointment to see the orthopaedic surgeon about my hip OA (on the off-chance there is elective surgery taking place sometimes this year). Overseas folk probably don’t realize how strict out lockdown is. I can’t even get a taxi down to the coastal nature reserve to do some photography OR the city to get my hair cut OR the dentist, the optician – everything is closed except food/medical/pharmacy type things. We have to stay within 5 kms of our homes (to try and stop community COVID transfer) unless we have a permit card. Our lockdown (and nightly curfew) has been extended another 2 weeks til the end of September.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I love how you describe what you will find consolation in, and how we are all part of a natural cycle, Tanja. I also marvel at all the animals you have found in cemeteries, as well as the care and upkeep of these ‘cities of the dead’.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m more likely to be cremated than buried – spare land for burials is limited here – and am consoled that my ashes will be spread in a natural setting, helping to nourish plants that may later feed birds or butterflies, or maybe a cheeky squirrel or even a deer. We’re all part of the Great Cycle of Nature, and should take comfort in this whenever Death comes calling.

    I love the image of the two mulies…what handsome young fellows they are!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m glad you like the deer, Mr. P. They are very widespread here, and get fairly comfortable around humans and traffic.

      I find it very interesting to learn about people’s preferences with regard to the disposal of our mortal shells. In the end, it won’t matter to us, but I would prefer to be added back into the cycle, rather than have my remnants lie and linger in a sealed stone or metal sarcophagus.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Deine Aufnahmen sind wie immer wunderschön, Tanja!

    Gerne gehe auch ich auf Friedhöfen spazieren. Sie gleichen hier oft großen Parks und da keine Hunde erlaubt sind, finden viele Wildtiere hier einen Rückzugsort.

    Ich selber möchte eine Seebestattung in der Nordsee.

    Und den Worten von Loki Schmidt finde ich, kann man nichts hinzufügen:

    “Ich bin wirklich der Meinung, dass man sich, weil man aus vielen Atomen und Molekülen besteht, in all die Bestandteile auflöst, und Mutter Natur setzt das alles neu und anders wieder zusammen. Man verschwindet körperlich nicht. Man lebt in einer völlig anderen Weise oder bleibt der Erde auf eine völlig andere Weise erhalten. Und das, finde ich, ist ein tröstlicher Gedanke.“

    Liebe Grüße
    Brigitte

    Liked by 1 person

    • Liebe Brigitte,

      Ich danke Dir für Deinen Kommentar. Da ich nicht so mit der See verbunden bin wie Du, hatte ich eigentlich nie an eine Seebestattung gedacht. Wie ich mir das vorstelle, wird man bzw. frau dabei etwas schneller Teil des Kreislaufs des Wassers und der Erde.

      Und die Worte von Loki Schmidt sind wirklich auf den Punkt gebracht, danke dafür. Sie waren mir bisher nicht bekannt.

      Sei herzlich gegrüßt,
      Tanja

      Like

  5. Beautiful images and beautiful words. I feel exactly the same way as you do about cemeteries. Places of peace and loveliness, and, as you illustrate, places for wildlife. As a lover of fantasy, I was especially moved by the image of your limbs growing into a tree.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ich gehe gerne auf Friedhöfen spazieren, denn sie sind Parks. Also ich spreche da jetzt mal von den deutschen Friedhöfen, denn die kenne ich am besten. Und ich lese gerne die Inschriften, bzw. die Daten an den Grabsteinen und frage mich oft, ob da wohl noch jemand zum Erinnern oder zum Trauern kommt! Und oft bleibe ich dann bei dem ein oder anderen ein kleines Weilchen stehen
    .
    Es ist beruhigend, wie du alles beschreibst – so sollte es sein. Hoffen wir mal, dass es auch so sein wird!

    Viele Grüsse
    Christa

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hallo Christa,

      hoffen können wir ja, auch wenn niemand weiß, wie es letztendlich sein wird.

      Mir geht es ähnlich wie Dir, und ich liebe den Parkaspekt vieler Friedhöfe. Selbst in Großstädten, wo drumherum viel Verkehr und Lärm herrscht, ist es auf ihnen erstaunlich still.

      Liebe Grüße zurück nach Kanada,
      Tanja

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment, Ann, I feel the same way, and think that as humans, we need to remind ourselves that we don’t exist in a parallel universe, but are part of this one. In many ways, our modern lifestyles divide us from that reality, but it doesn’t mean that we can deny it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. My thoughts of my inevitable death mirror yours, Tanja. I love the idea of the circle of life and would ask Teddy to leave me naked on the deck for the animals to consume me but it might upset him…😁
    Love all your critters at the cemetery, especially the turkey!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m amazed by the number of animals in your cemeteries. We have birds galore, as well as insects, snails, squirrels, and such, but I’ve never seen deer or other mammals. That may have more to do with our area, of course. I expect that in some cities, like San Antonio and Austin, deer would be more plentiful because they’re quite common in the cities.

    I need to make a decision about where and how to be laid to rest. I actually have a spot available in the family cemetery in Iowa, but I also have a plot in a country cemetery in Texas. I’ve come to prefer cremation, so what to do with the Texas plot could be an issue. Maybe I’ll have my ashes scattered over my Texas grave! How I got that plot really is an amusing story; one of these days I ought to add it to my repertoire of Texas tales.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am always pleasantly surprised to discover new critters at our local cemetery, Linda. And you are absolutely right–deer are abundant in many parts of this city, so it’s not surprising to find them here, where they are relatively undisturbed. For me, the encounter with 2 foxes has been the most surprising.
      The fact that you have two plots is intriguing and I hope you will feel inspired to tell us why one of these days.

      Like

  9. This is just wonderful to see. You are not alone in thinking it so. In Vienna, we have an old Jewish graveyard at the Zentralfriedhof, which is also quite wild, and we can find all kinds of wildlife, mainly deer, but also smaller critters and of course birds in it.

    Like

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