Wednesday, 3 February 2016

I Wonder What Became Of Them

I love cemeteries. That statement right there can get you strange looks, maybe even frightened ones. I'm not afraid to say it, though, because it's true. I love cemeteries. I love them because they're full of stories. You might be wondering what I mean by that. Most people just think that cemeteries are full of tombstones marking the final resting places of people who have died. In many cultures, cemeteries are very important and are considered sacred. These are very beautiful ways to put it because some people simply think of cemeteries as creepy places where a bunch of corpses are buried. My way of thinking makes cemeteries seem like very romantic places, which is lovely, don't you think? Cemeteries are full of stories because each person buried there has a story, the story of their life. Whether they only lived inside their mother or they lived for over 100 years on Earth, they each have some kind of story, and that's a pretty amazing thing. To have your own unique story is a magical experience and it's a blessing, whether you think of it in a religious sense or not.

When I visit cemeteries, I enjoy looking around at the names and dates on tombstones. I enjoy reading extra information or images carved in stone. I use what I see to piece together what life might have been like for those who have passed on. What did they like to do? What kinds of accomplishments did they have in their lifetime? What kind of person were they? Sometimes ornaments that friends and family leave in front of the graves provide clues as well. Or, sometimes the times that they lived in reveal how their lives were different from our own. It's interesting to know that so many different people lived out their lives before yours has ended and that so many different people will continue to live so many different lives for a very long time after you're gone.

The most interesting graves, though, are sometimes the graves that reveal very little about their owners. Mystery graves. Perhaps there's a name, or maybe even some dates, but the rest is unknown. Perhaps it is only known to the family or friends or maybe it is now only know to those who are buried beneath. These are the graves that really make your mind wander and wonder what their stories might be. Fleet Foxes' song "The Shrine/An Argument" begins, "I went down among the dust and pollen/ To the old stone fountain in the morning after dawn/ Underneath were all these pennies fallen from the hands of children/ They were there and then they were gone/ And I wonder what became of them/ What became of them". This is how I feel when looking at tombstones in cemeteries. Of course, in this case, I know what happened to the people: they died. But I don't know what happened throughout their lives before they died and that makes my imagination run wild and I think, along with the fact that each of these souls had their own story, that that is a very beautiful thing.

I guess one very important thing to remember throughout our lives is best said by the Eleventh Doctor from Doctor Who: "We're all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?"


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