I still recall my mother in the late 1970s telling the surly teen who eventually became me that she enjoyed a walk through a New Hampshire cemetery that morning. Given the unusual sagacity I already possessed at the age of 13, I naturally assumed she was nuts and silently cursed my birth parents for not conducting a thorough background check.
As fate would have it, I too lost my mind soon afterward -- on that same trip east to visit my aunt, in fact. I believe it was a cemetery in Salem, Massachusetts, not far from the fabled gabled edifice of Hawthorne fame. I remember marveling at how little of the writing remained on the grave markers after centuries of weathering, and that I unexpectedly found the whole gamboling-through-a-cemetery experience both interesting and peaceful.
Thereafter -- and particularly once I grew interested in genealogy, realized I possessed unusually ordinary sagacity, and accepted that I wasn't adopted -- I started visiting cemeteries whenever the spirit moved me. Over the years, I've grown particularly fond of those small forgotten niches of space you typically spot briefly at 55+ mph while traversing this country's network of rural roads via automobile.
Thus, I encourage you to visit a cemetery near you this Sunday, which have been called "America's first public parks." If you're worried someone will brand you "nuts" as I unfairly did my mom years ago, please know that this Sunday is the second annual "Visit a Cemetery Day." So, even if you can't visit the gravesite of a loved one, you're still covered.
Will you/did you visit a cemetery on October 28, 2012? If so, please share its name/location (and anything else you feel like) in the comments below.
Photo © Chris Raymond