Friday, May 30, 2014

Laramie, Wyoming

The Western Windmill ~ In Western Cemeteries:  Premer Ranch is now for sale: $1,275,000. How will this small patch of the Laramie Plains change? Here's an on-line clue from the agent who's selling it: ". . . a great opportunity for upside potential as Laramie and Wyoming continue to grow. Power and phone are at the ranch. Excellent well water and easy access from US Highway 30/287. Varied topography would provide for excellent small ranch sites and horse properties."  Now, look at the picture the agent has chosen to advertise the property. If there is one element of the cultural landscape that establishes the Laramie Plains' spirit of place, it may be the western windmill. Green Hill Cemetery. [2013]

Source: Western United Realty

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Blanding, Utah

The Western Windmill ~ In Western Cemeteries:  The windmill here looks like it is made of wood. It's keeping the cattle well provisioned with water, drawn from deep beneath the surface. The ranch must have been this couple's life. Check out the dates: Do you think she died of a broken heart? The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind, just like their souls. Blanding City Cemetery. [2013]

Monday, May 26, 2014

Cheyenne, Wyoming

The Western Windmill ~ In Western Cemeteries:  As essential as the windmill was in the East, it was even more essential west of the 20-inch rainfall line. As farming gave way to ranching, windmills became the only way to keep the herds hydrated. They provided the know-how for getting ground water to the surface. Mount Olivet Cemetery. [2013]

Friday, May 23, 2014

Landisville, New Jersey

The Western Windmill ~ In Eastern Cemeteries:  A landscape etched in black and white seems to have been evacuated by its inhabitants. What they left behind was a tidy farmstead, complete with a windmill that keeps on pumping. As Pete Seeger might say: "Turn! Turn! Turn!" Friendship Cemetery. [2013]

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Dillsburg, Pennsylvania

The Western Windmill ~ In Eastern Cemeteries:  Windmill? Miller? Is there a relationship? Old millers never die; they simply find eternity in the wind?  Here's a good view of the tail vane, perhaps another metaphor for life.  Don't we all need one to keep us pointed in the right direction? Dillsburg Cemetery. [2013]

Monday, May 19, 2014

Laurel, Delaware

The Western Windmill ~ In Eastern Cemeteries:  Let the wind do the work. It blows eternally. Farm windmills like this were an eastern invention that diffused to the American west where they helped to define the region's sense of place. At first the frames were built of wood, then steel. Their contribution: They forced Aeolus to do the heavy work of lifting water to the surface. Odd Fellows Cemetery. [2013]

Friday, May 16, 2014

New Orleans, Louisiana

St. Louis Cemetery No. 2:  Do you think this Powerball billboard has found the right audience? Actually, its location is not so puzzling. What you can't see is what defines the northern border of the cemetery: Interstate-10. [2014]

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

New Orleans, Louisiana

St. Louis Cemetery No. 2:  Marble has one big advantage over granite: It can be carved into all sorts of sculptural art, like the cherubs seen here. Can you read the inscription on Madame Charbonnet's tomb? Not surprisingly, it's in French. Could she be one of the many refugees who came to New Orleans after the revolution in Haiti? [2014]

Monday, May 12, 2014

New Orleans, Louisiana

St. Louis Cemetery No. 2:  These are wall vaults or "oven vaults." They constituted the lowest priced tombs in St. Louis Cemetery. The body (presumably un-embalmed) was entitled to the tomb for a year and a day. At that point, the remains were pushed to the back of the vault and into the caveau below. Then, the space became available to someone else. [2014]

Plaque in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1

Friday, May 9, 2014

Ozan, Arkansas

Getting Ready for Mother's Day: How would you summarize your life in just one word?  How about MOTHER (in all caps)?  Of all cross-cultural human values, motherhood must top the list of virtues. But, here lies not just a generic mother, but a unique individual with a personality all her own:  You can see it in her signature. Mother's Day. This Sunday. Don't forget. St. Paul Methodist Church Cemetery. [2012]

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Cleveland, Tennessee

Getting Ready for Mother's Day: "A Mother to All" was Pat.  If these foothills of the Blue Ridge were still inhabited by their native peoples, the Cherokee, she would have been a village elder known as "The Beloved Woman." Both titles seem to capture the folk culture of east Tennessee: tight-knit, communal, and gently matriarchal. Fort Hill Cemetery. [2014]

Monday, May 5, 2014

Cheyenne, Wyoming

Getting Ready for Mother's Day:  "Our Beloved Mother" is commemorated on a frilly couch cushion that has been etched into granite. Even though it's rock hard, it looks soft and comforting: of the type she might have made, were she skilled with needle and thread. She's been gone for sixteen years now, but look at all the 'grave goods' that populate the contiguous zone. Her children must miss her still. Mount Olivet Cemetery. [2013]

Our Beloved Mother

Friday, May 2, 2014

Vaughan, Ontario

The Cemetery is a Praying Place:  Some souls go to church to pray. They hope those prayers carry over to the churchyard when they are buried. Every churchyard thereby becomes a garden of Gethsemene and the prayer of Jesus becomes the prayer of the departed: "My father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will but as you will." The churchyard here was originally Primitive Methodist. Carrville United Church Cemetery. [2010]

The Days are Long
But the Years are Short