set of photos. It's a weird one, with graves not particularly well kept and arranged at random in certain areas. Despite an epic spot overlooking the lake, there's no grass or trees to beautify it -- this is not one of those park-like cemeteries.
One corner has a only infant graves, made even more depressing by the obvious neglect and lack of care in putting the graves in to begin with. One was unmarked, and some had a homebuilt feel with simple, rough concrete. The one pictured here had a sort of plaster headstone that had deteriorated so much that you could barely make out the year 1943 on it. Some momentos and gifts were scattered around, like this tiny trumpet in the dirt.
It was a reflective stop. One thing that struck me immediately was this perception that graves have an inherent permanence, marking our spot and storing our bones for a posterity we think will last hundreds of years. Maybe we even think we'll be remembered better when our names, dates and scattered words are etched in marble.
In this cemetery, graves in some rows were obviously deteriorating, and most weren't more than 50 or 70 years old. Has it only taken a few generations for these memorials to be forgetten? Have the people's lives they represent been forgotten too?
The second impression I had there took longer to emerge, but it was much heavier when it hit me. It was very simple: I realized that these were not my ancestors. The implication was to know that the history and landscape of this place aren't really mine, either. I'm basically a tourist here, disconnected from my own dead, my own history, and my own landscapes.
I can visit the graves of my ancestors in the prairies and try to connect my extended history to the present in some abstract way, but that makes me feel like a tourist there. I'm already disconnected from that past and place, creating a sort of limbo that I hadn't thought about enough.
I've already adopted this landscape and I'm creating my own history here, but I had to acknowledge that it might take generations to be known and remembered (and eventually forgotten) in this place.