I like a cemetery, so when Celia provided me with the excuse to leave my chores and go out to one on a beautiful autumn afternoon I wasn’t going to say no.
We were headed for a plant identification walk. Admittedly I thought it was going to be fungi, and planned to photograph it, leaving the identification to others. Most of the plants held up to the surprisingly large group were tiny, and my attention and photography soon turned in other directions. Celia remained at the front, looking keen. I hoped she’d enlighten me later.
It was warm and sunny when the walk began. Walk is rather an overblown word for the gentle stroll, though the uneven terrain at times could have turned an ankle, and long wet grass played havoc with my less than waterproof shoes.
However, it was the trees and the graves that really got my attention. Actually not just the graves, but people’s names. I have never heard of anyone called Nind before. It could make a rather nice gender neutral first name. Better, in my view, than Farqueson which one person had been saddled with. Imagine trying to get your tongue round that as a toddler. I called myself Ogg. Most small children call me a variation of Lisobel.
I spotted this grave from a distance and broke ranks to take a closer look.Poor Clifford. I hope his parents’ derived some comfort from this sculpture, though it doesn’t look a lot like his photo.
We veered off into a strange little area almost, it seemed, devoid of graves. I happened to be beside one of the cemetery’s Friends, and she explained this was for public graves. I raised my eyebrows in enquiry. Graves where you can have only a very small marker stone, or none at all; cheaper. Like a green burial! I exclaimed, that’s what I want. Untended graves and gravestones get cleared aside, and after one hundred years the grave is reused. Discarded marker stones made a strange sight.
This grave dates from 1934, but the inked details suggest someone is still remembering.
I found these more poignant than some Celia and I saw when we explored further after the plant identification had come to an end. We wondered at first if this was a famous boxer of whom we had never heard,
But when we found this one, we concluded it was a way of recording something the departed was fond of.
This one frankly confused me.
The death of a child is always hard, and the ways families mark and remember them is obviously very personal.
But it was when we viewed the flowers for the recently cremated that we agreed whole heartedly we want unmarked green burials.Some flower tributes were beautiful. Others left us wondering why they might have seemed a good idea at the time. Judge for yourselves.
By this time the light was fading, so we went home.