Friday, May 01, 2009

Graveyards Real and Literary

Sometimes you read a book and when you turn the last page you think "That was a good read." And then you set it down and get up and go into the kitchen and open the refrigerator door and see if there's anything in there you can turn into a proper lunch.

And sometimes you read a book and when you turn the last page you clutch the book to your chest and sigh and wipe away a few remaining tears and know you'll never forget the characters, ever. And then you sigh again and wander about the house looking for someone to tell how much you loved the book and if you're alone then instead you immediately begin a list in your head of people who MUST read this book and you wonder if you'll have time to read it again soon. This latter scenario is what happened recently when I finished The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.

Not only was it a great story on so many levels, but it was so lovely to realize that there's someone out there that loves the beauty and peace and history and ... just everything about a real and proper cemetery.

One of the things I did on my way back down from Washington last week was check on our property in Oregon and cruise about the local area for a bit, getting to know it a wee bit better each time I get the opportunity to visit. On this visit I spied a small sign a few miles down the highway from our property. It read "Kings Valley Cemetery". Of course I had to investigate.

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At the end of a long drive is this beautiful, meticulously well maintained pioneer cemetery. Look at the view those laid to rest or visitors here have of the valley below. I had myself a walk about the grounds.

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I liked that this grave had an angel and a faery abiding side by side. Like the little rainbow of light I caught in the upper left hand corner too.

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A peaceful spot in the top back of the graveyard.

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I like what time and water had done to this stone.

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A close up of that cool set of arched stones in the photo two above. I like the shadows in this pic too. And the path that winds out sight. There's also another path that winds the other way farther down the side of the hill. I'll definitely have to return to wander farther afield.

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A view from the other direction.

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What I was taking a photo of here were the three leaning crosses. All the crosses in the graveyard leaned this way. Perhaps the wind comes mostly from the other direction?

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Just a pretty topper. There must be a more accurate term than "topper" but I don't know what it. Maybe it's time to google "graveyard terminology".

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Just a pretty small stone. Big and showy isn't always the stuff that catches my eye. The pine cone and stick look like little offerings left, don't they.

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Love the moss and the shadows and the wee flowers in the grass.

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More scattering of starry flowers and a really unique looking stone. That's totally a doorway to another world, yes?

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A common bas relief design, the hand pointing up. Always amuses me, as if they want to make sure the soul knows which way to go, doesn't accidentally go left or right or, gasp, down! This particular one is more poignant than most though with the word "Hope" above it. Maybe they should have carved the fingers crossed and the worlds "Sure Hope So!" I'm being silly.

The most exciting find though was this ordinary enough looking stone below.

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You see, Plunkett is a family name on my mother's side. I was so excited. Relatives in the area. Albeit long ago and who knows how distantly related, but related nontheless.

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Here's the front of the stone. Maybe I should do some geneology work. I'm not very good at following through on the tedious research involved, but I do love to uncover history. A quick Google before I started this post (because I'd forgotten the name of the cemetery and wanted to include it if I could) showed a page listing all the names on all the stones in this cemetery and apparently there were lots and lots of other Plunketts buried there as well that I missed. Sometimes I'm in a reading stones mood and sometimes I'm in more of a wandering about with less focus mood, which was what I was in that particular day.

I took having family already in the area as a sign that I had indeed chosen the right place to be when we get the opportunity to move.

More travel photos to come, in random order, as my mood dictates. Today there are some fun art and street scenes from Chico, CA over on Laume's Studio. If you think I was missing here for over a week, my poor studio visitors found nothing but cobwebs and creaking doors there, I was gone over half a month!

If there are typos or mispellings here, forgive me, ran outa time to check and want to get this up. Have a lovely May Day everyone!


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