Thursday, April 8, 2010
Wandering a Forgotten Cemetery on a Spring Day
Cemeteries hide behind every corner here. I'm not sure if all places are like this, but in Madison County, Alabama cemeteries are part of the landscape. They go almost unnoticed, they have become so common place. There is one in the woods behind our neighborhood and another by Target in between the Mexican restraunt and the interstate. There's one across from karate and several on the small road that leads to downtown. I found an entire neighborhood that was built around a potter's field. A potter's field is an old word to describe a poor person's cemetery. Apparently, the developer couldn't identify any of the names on the markers, so legally he couldn't relocate the bodies. So the developer just made a square of houses around the cemetery with the houses backyards opening up directly onto the graves.
As I walked through the old graveyard, I heard leaves crunching behind me. Of course, it may have been squirrels or birds scurrying in the undergrowth behind me, but I imagined that there were ghosts walking with me as I wandered the necropolis. Shadows danced at my feet and the light made a lace on the tombstones. It was a beautiful day and the cemetery offered a solitude that is rare in modern life. It is amazing to me that such beauty can surrround us every day and go entirely unnoticed. I have to wonder, are all places like this? Do tiny graveyards and necropolis's dot the landscape of every city hiding behind buildings and highways or is Madison County unique?