Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Carpe Diem

Reilly's the guy
We like the most
But we sure as heck hope
We don't see his ghost!


Someone who lives in this house, at Mass Ave. and A Street NE, has such a great sense of humor. Every year at Halloween a charming little graveyard appears in the back yard garden. The headstones are handmade, all of them "engraved" (with a sharpie, it looks like) with funny rhyming epitaphs. Very cool!

I love cemetaries, especially older cemetaries where the headstones are distinct from each other rather than the dreary newer fashion of flat stones on the ground, all of them exactly like the next one.

One of my favorite cemetaries is Mt. Auburn in Cambridge, Mass. Besides all the very interesting folks buried there (like Buckminster Fuller, for instance), the grounds, and especially the trees are beautiful. In the spring birds in migration stop to visit. People go to the cemetary to picnic on the grounds, an activity that's encouraged by the people who manage Mt. Auburn. That seems so friendly, and so healing, too. It's good to honor the dead in cheerful ways, I think.

Arlington Cemetary is a place I've visited often at this time of year, usually just to sit at the foot of the hill where the military clergy are buried. It's not a charming place, like Mt. Auburn or Capitol Hill's Congressional Cemetary, (a really fun place for dogs as well as dead and living people). No. Arlington is majestic though, and very respectful of those who rest there. "Rest" is more like it. All the dead at Arlington seem ready to spring to attention, should some high ranking military guy ask them to. Still it's a nice place to go visit. These days there are funerals taking place almost every day for soldiers killed in Iraq.

Some day, later on in this century, when I've passed away, I'd like a nice white marble headstone that says, "For whatever it was worth, she really was psychic." I think it's funny. And true, too, the best an epitaph can be.

Oh, but I'm not dead yet! Time to take the dog for a walk, do some laundry, go see the acupuncturist. And on and on, celebrating (as Bjork says) all the flesh on my bones.

L'Chaim, ya'all and Happy Halloween!


Barbara said...

This could be the best leaf photo of all time. I definitely want it!

Steve said...

Those remind me of the headstones at Disney World's Haunted Mansion, which I always loved as a kid. Lots of silly epitaphs.

I read somewhere that picnicking in cemeteries is a new trend!

IntangibleArts said...

Good stuff.

And on the subject of happy death, one of my next tattoo ideas is a simple line-art of a card, tied 'round one ankle, with words saying, simply,

"If found deceased, please cremate."

...seems like it might even be a functional tattoo, if there's a particularly BAD DAY in the future.

Reya Mellicker said...

One of my favorite parts of the film Memento is the fact that he gets tattoos of the information most crucial for him to learn in the next loop of his memory. So, of course I get why this is such a perfect tattoo. As for myself, besides the marble headstone, I wish I could simply be wrapped in a blanket, as is, and returned to the earth asap. I would love to literally push up daisies. Someday! Not yet!!

kimy said...

cemeteries are definitely among my favorite places to wander. I wish the US had the same aesthetic about visiting and bringing tributes as one finds in other parts of the world.

ah yes the cemeteries in new england are wonderful. I have been to the mt. auburn location, but years and years ago - will have to go back esp now that I know bucky is buried there!

I'll have to hunt up the info on the green cemetery movement I read a few months ago and it is definitely the ecological path to take!

visitors to cleveland need to check out lake view cemetery - good walking, beautiful views, and nice monuments. the crowning jewel is the wade chapel - decorated inside completely by louis tiffany. incredible!

Reya Mellicker said...

Wow, that sounds gorgeous!

Momentary Academic said...

Happy Halloween! See you soon!

Moonroot said...

I share your enthusiasm for the higgledy-piggledy style of older cemeteries. So much more character!
I've awarded you a 'Hallowe'en Sweet Treat Award' for this post!

Reya Mellicker said...

Thank you, Moonroot!!

D.C. Confidential said...

Have you been over to Rock Creek Cemetery between New Hampshire Ave and North Capitol St? If you haven't, you must. It's fabulous! If you like cemeteries, I think you'd like this one.

Reya Mellicker said...

In fact I drove past that cemetary today, coming back to Capitol Hill from Takoma Park. My friend and I waved at the dancing dead as we rode past them. It was a cheerful Halloween.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Love that photo!

My mother realised I was strange sort of being when I displayed a liking for cemeteries as a young child. Of course her suspicions have only been confirmed as the years have progressed! ;-) But all this talk of graveyards gives me ideas... I think a series of cemetery photos are needed.

Happy needling - I'm off to see my acupuncturist on the morrow!

Lori Witzel said...

You look like you're having tons o' fun! Happy happy weekend, and may it have a treat and a smile for you.