Originally posted on my Blogger site, but Autumn is a great time to see these places at their best.

Some of my friends and family would call me strange. Perhaps those less friendly might think ‘Deranged’ would be a proper term. Those who are not friends would probably go for ‘Should be sectioned for his own good.’

Now one reason for this is that I love a walk in a cemetery (The picture above is the Local one.). Many would now be picturing an ancient Goth slouching along between the Graves but it couldn’t be more different. Allow me to explain.

When I was a child we would go to dinner with Nan Elsie on a Sunday. After lunch in the summer she would inevitably announce a visit to the ‘Sim’. Flowers in Hand the whole family would walk the mile or so, up tree lined lanes, to the place where most of her family were buried. There was a school in the lane (I later went there.) and it had wooden fences There was a smell of wood stain and the tree roots in the Lane grew up through the pavements. Each tree had a small plinth with the name of a soldier who died in WW1. It is still called the ‘Avenue of Remembrance. On wet days there was a smell of leafmould from the last Autumn’s fallen leaves that never quite disappeared.

Once in the Cemetary we would go to the family graves. We would perform the ritual of clearing them and laying new flowers. There were metal tanks with taps and watering cans. We would fill the cans and carry them to the graves to water the flowers. It is still a vivid memory.

Nan Elsie and Granddad Mac.

Nan introduced me to the delights of the cemetery.

I also recall visiting a grave with my Father, his Brother’s I think. It sticks in my mind because it is one of the few times I remember being alone with him. He died when I was 11.

 As I grew I started reading inscriptions on the graves, wondering who these people were. There was the grave of a footballer with a marble football carved in white marble. Another had an anchor carved on the headstone. It explained that the man died in an accident on the local creek. That one was doubly interesting because he shared my surname.
Later, graves became important due to my interest in Genealogy. It is one thing to know every date that was important in a given ancestors life. It is quite another to stand before his or her grave, Knowing that this is where they came when their particular race was run. This is another aspect of the Cemetary. If you are worried or troubled, there is a tremendous psychological boost to knowing that all the worry in the world cannot change the fact that we all end up here. Told you I was strange!
Then there is the fact that the Cemetary is a haven for nature in the middle of the mayhem. I first heard a Cuckoo there. Bird song is all around, squirrels run around between the graves and foxes are not unknown. There are no cars and there is little pollution.
When I had a stroke I knew I had to exercise and because of all this, a cemetery is still my favourite place to do so.

So in the summer it is one of my favourite places to go. What about the winter though? I still enjoy the cemetery then. There is a stark beauty to gravestones in the cold or with rain or snow sending a shiver down your spine. They will have connotations with death, how can they not. Yet they can evoke so many feelings while we are around to enjoy them.

So go to a Churchyard or Cemetary, open your senses fully and drink in the feelings it can evoke.

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