stalking the wild tombstone

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The six-acre Historic Union Cemetery in Redwood City, California runs unobtrusively along Woodside Road where it sits adjacent to a plant nursery and is bordered on other sides by boring boxy 1960s housing. The cemetery was established in the mid-nineteenth century and is inhabited by – among others – soldiers of the American Civil War who died after they were mustered out and members of the sadly depleted but happily still extant Metamora Native American Tribe. No surprise this: the cemetery is said to be haunted. If so, our delightful afternoon of stalking the wild tombstone, while fun for us, was apparently of little interest to the inhabitants. The day was uneventful. I was test-driving a modest digital camera, which was new to me that week and died not long after this expedition.

© 2011, words and photographs, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

 

kif_0858-1Photo on 2014-03-31 at 17.16 #3JAMIE DEDES (The Poet by Day)~ I am a medically retired (disabled) elder and the mother of a married son. The graces of poetry, art, music, writing and reading continue to evolve as a sources of wonder and solace, as creative outlets, and as a part of my spiritual practice. My Facebook pages are: Jamie Dedes (Arts and Humanities) and Simply Living, Living Simply.

The photograph to your right, Portrait of a Photographer is a portrait of my friend and fine art photographer, Wendy Alger. I guess it might be more correct to say it’s a portrait of the camera not the photographer, though it was meant to capture the spirit in which Wendy works. I took the photograph some years ago during out trek through Historic Union Cemetery in Redwood City, California. Wendy pursued her art and I was chauffeur and tag-along doing the best I could. My own portrait here is a selfie captured using the photo feature on my MacBook. Happy interNational Photography Month.

Two Subjects (and one important thing to remember)

While traveling in Argentina, we visited La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires.   Since 1822, nearly 5,000 mausoleums have been constructed  in the highest fashion of the times, from Baroque and Neo-Gothic to Art Deco and Art Nouveau.   La Recoleta is a city for the dead, with elegant marble tombs neatly laid out in blocks over fourteen acres.

Some are maintained, for love or pride.  Others, like the poet Shelley’s statue of Ozymandias, have fallen into disrepair, covered with spider webs and graffiti, littered with broken glass and faded plastic flowers.  Feral cats stare warily from their marble perches and skulk away sideways if approached.

We saw the grave of Eva Peron, and other statesmen, poets, generals, and presidents.

More interesting to me was the final resting place for a mother and her infant.  They were not famous, but clearly they were loved.  Did she and the child die in childbirth?  Were they swept away by an epidemic, leaving behind the grieving husband and father who erected this memorial?  Was he able to pick up the pieces of his broken life to find happiness again?

Wherever we go, we will find reminders of all the stories in this world that will never be told.  When I took this photograph, I could be certain of only two things.  Both mother and child were subject to an early and tragic demise.  And, as seen by the lush green fern sprouting from the dust collecting in the cracks in the stone, life goes on.

All images and words copyright Naomi Baltuck

NaomiPHOTO1-300ppi51kAqFGEesL._SY300_NAOMI BALTUCK ~ is a Contributing Editor and Resident Storyteller here at Bardo. She is a world-traveler and an award-winning writer, photographer, and story-teller whose works of fiction and nonfiction are available through Amazon HERE. Naomi presents her wonderful photo-stories – always interesting and rich with meaning and humor – at Writing Between the Lines, Life from the Writer’s POV. She also conducts workshops such as Peace Porridge (multicultural stories to promote cooperation, goodwill, and peaceful coexistence), Whispers in the Graveyard (a spellbinding array of haunting and mysterious stories), Tandem Tales, Traveling Light Around the World, and others. For more on her programs visit Naomi Baltuck.com