It's really not a ghoulish thing, my interest in old cemeteries, it's more of an historical curiosity. I will search for the oldest date I can find. Unlike the rest of the world it seems, we here in the New World can only take our history back a half a millenium at most. Aside from Anasazi cliff dwellings and mysterious Midwestern mounds, we are lucky to see things much older than Revolutionary War era buildings. Out here in the West, we have even fewer historical old things except maybe the California missions. A cemetery can tell you lots about history, family history especially. And waves of epidemics and the rates of infant mortality and why do some die so young and how do some last so long? I wonder especially about the people who lived in this region I occupy now.
I think this wondering is what made me a huge fan of the Hudson school painters. These were the adventuresome landscape artists who painted the great American vistas (like the Hudson River Valley and Yosemite) before there were cars or even trains to take you there. Looking at their work is to see America before it was parceled up and served to legions of land-hungry settlers, before that newfangled fad of photography sprang up, before the land was criss-crossed with pavement and electric lines, before it was gridlocked by the automobile or surveiled by Google Earth. Before there was a "there" there.
I guess I would have liked to see those places for myself and so I am thankful for those fearless painters who tread into the wilderness and helped us remember what lies beneath our very feet. And I am curious about the lives who walked the land before me, these few brave souls remembered, as they are, by these small concrete or even wooden markers in the forgotten, hide-a-way cemeteries of this land.
Tim Bulone is an ardent observer of life on the swirling blue marble. He works at Davis Group Consulting and creates fine art and canvas prints which he likes to sell from time to time at http://www.MyFamilyArt.com He is an early morning pedestrian in Belmont Shore, where he resides with his wife and a variety of indolent pets.