Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Grass & graves

the last weekend of june we went to gloucester, a small city on the coast north of boston. we had biked around a little, and then wanted to go to the beach and perhaps swim a little. but... it was a very hot day in the middle of summer and we discovered that the parking lots of all the beaches we frequented in early autumn and spring now asked money. and not just a little money, at least 15 dollars! as it was almost 5 and we just wanted to be on the beach for a bit it was not worth it. we drove around, quite aimlessly, and saw that ofcourse all the free supermarket parking lots had big signs with "no beach parking". when a tow truck passed us, it was time to just forget the beach and go home.
while driving in some random street, i suddenly saw some headstones, or so it seemed, scattered around in high grass. i made tim stop, and indeed, there it was, an entire cemetery, between 2 houses and the MBTA train tracks. it was locked, but we could easily enter it from the side. the grass was so very high; it was hard to make out where i was walking as the ground was very uneven. many stones had sunk quite deep into the ground, and at other places there were deep dents in front of stones (you can imagine why!). i hurt my feet  and the various types of grass and thorny bushes that were taking over the place were not very nice to my bare legs. but i enjoyed walking around there so very much! most stones had become unreadable, had sunk too deep into the ground, or were just lying around, shattered in many pieces. aside from the train, it was so very quiet there, actually a nice change from those overcrowded beaches and parking lots. so... we just spread our blanket out somewhere in the middle, disappeared between the grass and graves, and had our afternoon snack there! that was my first picnic on a cemetery...
this is the first cemetery in gloucester. the settlers arrived in 1623, and in 1644 some land next to the first meeting house was set aside for burials. until 1925, burials were accepted here. after that, the cemetery was just neglected, and got subjected to nature, and vandalism (thats why the gate was installed. also to prevent people from driving in and dumping their stuff). i found a report in the gloucester newspaper from 2008 that a committee was working on restoration of this cemetery. perhaps they did; i saw some stones that were glued together, but other than that, there was no sign that this cemetery recently had been taken care of.
ah well, i really liked it how it was, and it was such a nice and random find after a frustrating search for a parking spot to get to the beach. when we left, we saw the above couple taking back their space.... :)
for more taphophilia, go here!

12 comments:

VioletSky said...

it is a shame that this cemetery was for so long neglected, but for it to take four years after a plan is made to get it implemented shows an appalling lack of interest and power in the city.

Stefan Jansson said...

This will be a spooky place at night...

biebkriebels said...

It is such a great photo with the grass, the birds and the graves. Made me laugh to read you had a picnic at the cemetery! It is sad they neglected it there so long.

Gemma Wiseman said...

A picnic in a cemetery as an alternative to the beach! Love this! Extraordinary how sometimes looking for one thing leads to something so delightfully different! Love this photo with the two birds enjoying the space there too!

Tim said...

it actually looked charming in it's state of negligence.

Halcyon said...

Interesting that there are two vultures there. Appropriate for a cemetery.

Nicola Carpenter said...

There just something so tantilising about graves peeking out of long grass. Beautiful picture

Beneath Thy Feet

NixBlog said...

It looks so peaceful and serene. Cemeteries aren't spooky it's the world outside them that spooks me...

Gerald (Hyde DP) said...

a great find - my wife used to go sunbathing in our local cemetery years agi.

CaT said...

haha. sunbathing! cool!
i was a little afraid that sooner or later someone would show up telling us we were trespassing or whatever... but that didnt happen..

Kay said...

Very nice shot! The birds really pull it all together.

Julie said...

Are they vultures or turkeys?

I can see the beauty of the cemetery in this state, but the stones will not last forever/very long unless they receive at least a little maintenance. Although one of the stones at the very front has very clear engraving on it still.

I agree that the local committee is very slack not to have moved further in four years.

But a delightful story, and image.