Friday, June 28, 2013

Notre Dame de Stanbridge, Quebec

Aerial Photographs on the Landscape:  The era of the family farm may be over, but it will live forever on cemetery tableaux noires all across North America. What do you make of the horse-drawn plow in this etching? Perhaps a symbol of the hard work and up-hill struggle it took to build such a prosperous agrarian microworld. Notre Dame de Stanbridge Church Cemetery. [2011]

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Denton, Maryland

Aerial Photographs on the Landscape:  In the 1970s, the aerial photograph entered the realm of pop culture in rural America.  Farmers began receiving photos of their farms taken from low-flying aircraft (with requests for payment).  It was often the first time they got a God's-eye perspective on their little piece of planet Earth.  Those photos were probably where the idea for headstones like this came from.  Concord United Methodist Church Cemetery.  [2013]

The Man Who Lived His Dreams

Monday, June 24, 2013

Atlantic, Iowa

Aerial Photographs on the Landscape:  Aerial photographs seem so fitting in a Roman Catholic Cemetery.  Why?  Because an air photo is essentially a God's-eye view of the world, or, in this case, a God's eye view of the Harman farm.  SS Peter and Paul Church Cemetery.  [2008]

Friday, June 21, 2013

Grove City, Ohio

Covered Bridges on the Landscape:  Although many have disappeared, Ohio is still thick with covered bridges. They instill pride in the places that have given them homes. Symbolically, they speak of Americans' ability to overcome barriers and bridge divides. And, they do it with class. Grove City Cemetery. [2008]

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Hinsdale, New Hampshire

Covered Bridges on the Landscape:  It may not be Grover's Corners, but it is New Hampshire.  Thornton Wilder may have given the most eloquent voice to bridges in their role as headstone icons:  "There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning."  The quote is from "The Bridge of San Luis Rey" (which was not covered).  [2009]

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Lyndon Center, Vermont

Covered Bridges on the Landscape:  In the poetic words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: 
        “The grave is but a covered bridge
        Leading from light to light, through a brief darkness!”
Longfellow was a New Englander who must have traveled through many a covered bridge in his day.  One of them made it into The Golden Legend, which was writen in 1851 during the heyday of the covered bridge.  Lyndon Center Cemetery.  [2009]

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Damascus, Maryland

Covered Bridges on the Landscape:  Where does the road lead?  Right past your house, through the covered bridge, and on to the great hereafter.  On this headstone, the road leads from the visitor's feet to the bridge's shadowy portal, and it looks like there is some magnificent scenery on the other side! From wherever we are, we all catch a glimpse of that shadowy portal now and then, don't we?  Montgomery Chapel Cemetery.  [2007]

Monday, June 17, 2013

Oxford, Pennsylvania

Covered Bridges on the Landscape:  'Crossing over' is a theme of cemetery landscapes all over the United States and Canada.  Covered bridges make perfect visuals for communicating that theme, especially in areas where they were, and perhaps still are, plentiful.  Chester County once had 85 covered bridges, and Pennsylvania still has more than any other state.  Oxford Cemetery.  [2013]

Let my heart be sound in thy
Statutes that I not be ashamed

Friday, June 14, 2013

Arcade, New York

Flags on the Landscape:  There's actually a flag on both sides of this veteran's headstone, but the one on the back is among the most vivid anywhere.  Today is Flag Day.  Don't forget to show your colors!  SS Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Cemetery.  [2013]

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Norfolk, Virginia

Flags on the Landscape:  Granite gives the American flag permanence on cemetery landscapes.  Here the 48-star standard lives forever, as does the sacrifice of this 19-year old World War I veteran.  Across the United States and Europe are more than 100,00 graves of American "soldier boys" who fought in the Great War, but this one was "our soldier boy."  Riverside Memorial Park.  [2012]

"Our Soldier Boy"

Monday, June 10, 2013

Farmington, Pennsylvania

Flags on the Landscape:  If you want to see lots of U.S. flags, visit a cemetery.  It is traditional to mark the graves of veterans with the 'stars and stripes,' especially in the spring as Memorial Day, and then Flag Day, approaches.  A service star adds value to this biography; it tells you he served in Vietnam.  Sansom Chapel Cemetery.  [2013]


Friday, June 7, 2013

Dunham, Quebec

Maps on the Landscape:  The burial place is in the province of Quebec, but the map is from Nova Scotia. Cape Breton was probably the place where he was not only born, but also grew up. The island left a lasting imprint on his life. Could we say it made him who he was? [2011]

Island of Cape Breton
Bras d'Or

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Boliver, New York

Maps on the Landscape:  What is commemorated on this headstone happened again and again during and after World War II as hundreds of thousands of American soldiers came home with war brides. Most the time grave yard visitors are completely unaware of such dynamics, but here is a couple who speaks pridefully from the grave about their intercontinental marriage and their roots in different cultures. Maple Lawn Cemetery.  [2013]

New York, United States of America

Lorraine, France

Monday, June 3, 2013

Niagara Falls, Ontario

Maps on the Landscape:  It seems that Canadians take their national identities to the grave with them much more frequently than Americans.  In fact, you can see how agglomerative tendencies shape the landscape of many burial places as people from particular nations, including Bulgaria, are grouped into their own neighborhoods.  Occasionally, you're lucky enough to find a map. Niagara Falls Cemetery.  [2013]