Graveyards – Ireland and France
Some people think my habit of visiting cemeteries is creepy. I find these places quite interesting and beautiful, especially the small ancient graveyards behind village churches. Some of them are not bigger than a suburban backyard, but carry an aura of time travel, coated in peaceful silence and reverence. There’s no better place for contemplation. You walk the grass of many funerals, and wonder through stone, flowerpots, letters and numbers marking someone’s life. Their essential biographies – the date of birth and death engraved on the top – are an attempt to fight the urge everyone else has to move on and forget. Every time you stop and acknowledge who’s underneath, you also notice that they existed and wonder how the world was when they were on this side of the journey.
The image above is a tomb in the graveyard behind St. Mary’s Church, in Kilkenny, Ireland, where probably a couple was buried together to be side by side in eternity. There’s no date engraved on the stone and it might go back hundreds of years. Were they a happy couple? Or protagonists of a tragic and forbidden love story, destined to be united in the afterlife? Does anyone still remember them?
A view in eternity
In St. Sernin du Bois, a small village in Burgundy, France, I paid my respects to a dear friend’s father’s tomb, in the local cemetery overlooking a peaceful lake, a bridge, and green hills dotted with Charolais cattle. My friend told me stories about people he knew in this community of 1,800 souls where he grew up, like the 13 year-old boy who committed suicide after a tragic quarrel with his father. Some neighbors’ tombstones had meaningful decorations: a the farmer rests forever with a small tractor beside him or children who died young and enjoy the company of their favorite toys. Most of the people buried there never left the small town or the vicinity, famous for the artisanal charcuterie and, of course, the wine. When we saw his father’s resting place, I asked him if it was comforting to know that his remains were there, at the town he spent his whole life, where he raised his kids and knew everyone and every stone.
“Well, at least he has a wonderful view,” he replied.
He’s right. Below is the view, much nicer than what some people have in front of them for all their lives.[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image src=”https://www.inesrodriguesauthor.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Graveyards-St-Sernin.jpg” align_tablet=”center” align_last_edited=”on|desktop” _builder_version=”3.23″][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]