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On the Road

>> Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Today was one of those days when I could take full advantage of being on the road for work.  I had to travel to Norwich for a meeting, which concluded pretty late in the afternoon.  A quick survey of the Evil Blackberry told me there were no real crises awaiting me at the office, and the GPS told me I wouldn't get back to the office until after 5:00 anyway.  No reason to rush.

Happily, I had taken my camera along for the ride.

Norwich is one of those places one cannot travel to without taking a bunch of twisty windy back roads through a lot of breathtaking farm country.  I stopped several times when the sun's rays peeked from behind the heavy clouds to illuminate a hill, and when I could find a spot to pull the car far enough off the road to not present a hazard to my fellow travelers.  Although I don't think any of these are exactly extraordinary, here are a few of my favorite shots:

Somewhere along Route 80 I stumbled upon this sweet old cemetery.  I think that's where I finally hit my photography groove for the day.  I was happy and completely enthralled in taking photos for a long, long time there.  I have a thing for cemeteries - old ones, anyway.  I have been known to take a book and spend an afternoon sitting in one, and my husband and I used to go toss a softball around in an open field surrounded by old cemetery that was a block from our old townhouse.  I've always wanted to live next to an old cemetery because I find them peaceful, and because I think they help keep life in perspective.  I also happen to think the dead would make excellent neighbors.

I always wander about in old cemeteries, looking at the stones and wondering about the life stories that are represented there - all the love, and all the heartbreak.  Who died from fevers, who in child birth, and which few lived to a ripe old age?  Who lost all their children young, before they died themselves?  And who fought for our country in war?  Who is remembered by name, and which women were unlucky enough to be remembered only as some man's wife?

Anyway, today what struck me most was not so much people's stories, but just the contrast and textures of the engraved stones, and the way nature slowly reclaims its own.  I thought I'd share a few of the images and textures that struck me the most:

I am puzzled by the inscription on the one above.  It reads, as best as I can tell:

Asa Pritchard, Esq.
Died July 30, 1838
AE 17 yrs.

Beneath this stone an honored Parent lies
Death will not stay for pleading childrens cries
No fond companion can afford one breath
When fastened in the name of Death.

Was Asa 17 years old?  And an honored parent at that tender age?  If anyone has any insight, let me know.

One does wonder about this next one.  How do they feel about being buried together, and were they his wives in succession, or at the same time?


Ellen Rathbone August 19, 2010 at 4:55 PM  

AH - home, home, home! I grew up just north of Norwich (Hamilton), so it was so nice to see that landscape again.

And your photos from the cemetary - they are exquisite. You have quite an eye for photography!

barefootheart August 25, 2010 at 1:51 PM  

Beautiful scenery.
Such intricate work on some of those stones. Very graceful.

Rachel August 31, 2010 at 10:37 PM  

Lovely, lovely. Though I've not yet met a cemetery like Holywell Cemetery. :)

I wonder if that first stone actually says 47, not 17.

Woodswoman Extraordinaire September 1, 2010 at 9:43 AM  

Rachel! What a delight to find you've been to my blog. Now that I look at it, I think you're right about the 47. And you're DEFINITELY right that I've never yet found a cemetery that compares with Holywell. Ah! You've just made me so nostalgic. It's not hard, I guess - mention anything that relates to Oxford and I get sort of hazy, happy and teary, all at the same time.

Rachel September 6, 2010 at 10:22 PM  

Now that I've bookmarked it, I hope to visit more often. :) As for Oxford, me, too.

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