Monday, August 10, 2009

Breathe, just breathe










I may bag on the west side of Altadena from time to time, but it clearly knows how to treat the dead. Welcome to Mountain View Cemetery, which must have closed in on its hundred year anniversary. I like it because it's simple, almost rustic, but very well kempt. Even the marker that hasn't had a visitor for years is treated with care. Before Mountain View, Pasadena buried its dead in the backyard. Or back acreage, is probably more apt. But company is comforting.

One time, traveling by train in France with a friend, we passed a lovely graveyard and, with my very poor French, the only way I could phrase the question was, Who lives in this garden of the dead?

I walked around the garden today to pay my respects.

22 comments:

  1. "...ok, ok, then can you at least just lay there. And, DON'T move!!"

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  2. Oh wow - I can't wait to visit that cemetery. And you know me, that isn't the least bit sarcastic.

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  3. excellent series and great title. it sounds like a very peaceful place. I wanted to thank you for your comment on my site about the solar eclipse photos. Also, If you like travel photos, we just put together a travel photos site at www.vivalavoyage.com. We have India photos posted and will put up new travel photos each Sunday. I strive for the people photos.

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  4. We have a Mountain View Cemetery. Which has me wondering if every burg with mountains in the general vicinity doesn't have a MVC.

    Oh, and your T shirt is in the mail Karin (along with the cheque).

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  5. How did you get a tee shirt out of Mr. TIght Wad???

    I don't quite know how I feel about cemeteries . I've visited two in Paris and have taken a few photographs. But I must say that there is always this feeling that I can't shake, that I am an intruder. As I passed loved ones carefully tending a grave, dragging large watering cans from the faucets, I wanted to put my camera away and just leave. On the other hand, I'm with you. Sometimes the markers or even the wording is so compelling, I can't help but photograph it all. Anyone else feel that way?

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  6. I love old cemataries. On two different occasions, my home has been situated across the street from one. They're quite lovely.

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  7. I'm a little embarrassed, but I thought this was going to be another yoga post. Nice photos and interesting history.

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  8. I've always thought that people would like to be remembered or at least acknowledged.

    I didn't find a single epitaph, although I only covered about a fourth of the cemetery.

    (Anyone who spells check like that is an obvious cad and roue, and not to be trusted.)

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  9. Since starting a city daily photo blog I've done quite a bit of photography in cemeteries and I have a lot of different feelings when I'm in them and that's probably as it should be.

    The difference between a graveyard and a cemetery is that a graveyard is part of a larger churchyard and a cemetery stands alone. As Christianity grew and people wanted to be buried in (preferably) or near their parish church graveyards became an extremely serious health hazard. They emitted poisonous gases and were sources of disease so cemeteries were created to avoid contact with decaying bodies - especially during times of plague and sweating disease - and later, when burial became more "scientific" and sanitary, they were treated as parks. The Victorians turned it into an art form. I think it's a practice that should be revived.

    Personally, I think there's something wonderful about a monument that testifies to a person's time on this earthly plane. I want a green burial but I also want a monument. I'm still working that out.

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  10. Very evocative photos and post

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  11. Yoga is clearly permeating your consciousness. I stopped at the Wrens. There's no inscription, but there is a clear, and sad, story.

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  12. That's where Mr V's parents ended up. Ashes in a sliver of a drawer.

    PJ: That was so interesting

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  13. I'm strangely drawn to cemeteries too. Those grave markers are the abbreviated stories of someone's life. Just a name and two dates, and all that is unsaid in-between.

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  14. Breathing is good!

    Also, thanks for visiting my Journal....

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  15. Fascinating stuff PJ. (I too want a monument. Or at least, I don't want to go into the ash filing cabinet drawer.)

    As to the Wrens, I'm guessing a son who predeceased his parents, and a wife who lasted much longer than the husband. It's sad, but they were in a really lovely spot, on a rise with dappled sun.

    For some reason, the last marker intrigues me the most. He was all by himself, and so young.

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  16. I think Virginia recently posted about a monastery graveyard where all the headstones are identical? I can't remember is she showed the "waiting" head stones for the brothers still alive...anyhoo...last year I photographed another monastery near that one she visited - this one is with nuns (not a nunnery, a monastery) - and also photographed the backlot with all their extra identical headstones. I think they're onto something.

    I'm going to settle on a spot before too long; find a plot, put up a headstone, take the drama out of it. Like a relative recently told me, all they have to do is move the slab and slide me in for the big sleep.

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  17. Cemeteries can be very peaceful and engaging places. I guess that view can be enjoyed by the living!

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  18. PJ,
    I've missed you this summer my friend.

    Let me just say I've decided that ashes are the way for me to go. I've told my girls that the catch is that they can't be just canned. They must be divided into thirds: Seagrove Beach, FL , Jordan/Stadium at Auburn University ( preferrably on the 50 yard line but that can be negotiated) and .................Paris. Well can you imagine the sibling hoo rah that will ensue when they slug it out over WHO gets to drop Mumsie's ashes from la tour EIffel??? Heeee I'll get the last laugh.

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  19. You've got two great titles there - breathe, just breathe & who lives...
    didn't know about this cemetary...a real treat thru your eyes & words

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  20. PS - I think I mentioned this before - my amazing grandmother would visit the cemetary of every city/town she'd visit and she'd take me along. She had to see one in LA and was quite impressed by Forest Lawn in Glendale.

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  21. I just love to sit amongst the dead folk.

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