Saturday, August 22, 2015

Have a seat . . .

Walking is good for me. I used to walk a lot. I am glad I have finally carved the time out of my day to make walking a priority once again. Not only is it good exercise, but it gives me time to think about all kinds of things . . . from solving problems to developing ideas for creating something new in my studio.

When I lived in Ithaca,  I walked mornings at the marina. The same handful of us were there routinely, and one of us wasn't, I noticed. We didn't hang out and chat or go out together for coffee. We walked.  We smiled and nodded as we caught a glimpse of each other from a distance and said a cordial hello when we met one another on the path.  If I skipped a day, the priest who was one of the morning walkers would always say,  "missed you yesterday," as we passed one another on the path.

Where I now live, I have discovered a few new places to walk that give me that same feeling. One of safety in numbers and belonging. ..even if it is is my own little walking club. All my new friends are always there, kind of like before, and patiently waiting for me. In the absence of a lake shore, I now favor walking in the local cemeteries where it is peaceful and quiet. The mature trees and grounds are beautiful and some of the headstones and monuments are lovely. The cemeteries where I walk have very old graves in them and on the soldiers' graves, there are metal stakes that hold small American flags that are placed there on Memorial Day every year. Those who were in the Civil War, have a star and the letters GAR, which stands for Grand Army of the Republic. Many of the Civil War dead are buried in a section of Forest Hills Cemetery, in Attica, on the far western side where the setting sun shines on their small headstones every evening.

View of small Civil War headstones on the western side of Forest Hills Cemetery, Attica, New York

Scattered throughout Forest Hills, are granite headstones that are benches. I am grateful to have them there to rest. I told my husband that I have decided I would like our headstone to be a bench, too. I like the idea of a bench and a place for people to sit and rest a while. It may seem odd to some people that I enjoy spending so much time in cemeteries, but I just do.

When I was a little girl, I spent many hours with my parents visiting the family plots in several different cemeteries and watering the large crocks of red geraniums they potted every year and placed on their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles graves. Later on, I tried to make yearly visits to family plots, pulling grass, brushing lichens off the engraved names and dates. Sometimes I would preserve an image from an interesting head stone by making a rubbing with charcoal on paper that I bought at the art supply store just for that purpose. I had thoughts of one day transferring the image to a white-on-white quilt with, perhaps, a softly arching willow tree pattern. Many of the monuments are ornate, as is the one shown here.

Lovely ornate monument in Macphpelah Cemetery, Le Roy, New York

There are many beautiful cemeteries in Western New York, as well as some small rustic pioneer cemeteries that are scattered all throughout the area. When I visit them, I think about the lives and times of those who are laid to rest and I like to imagine what their lives were like and what the area was like when they were on the earth.

The names on some of the old stones are those we almost never see anymore. Augustus, Philomena, Patience. One of my favorites is Thankful Walker. I always smile when I pass by and read her name on her headstone.

There are no photos from my studio this week. I am still working on several different projects, all in various stages of undone-ness. The week was busy with real estate transactions and lots of house showings.

Early this week, we experienced sweltering heat and humidity. A cold front came through on Thursday night that pushed that all away and we now are having absolutely beautiful weather. Cool nights and comfortable days with low humidity. Does it feel a bit like fall? Yes. Do I mind? I guess not; however, I admit I am a little torn. This summer seems to have just flown by, but I love fall and look forward to the colors, the temperatures and all the wonderful traditions that are part of the season.

The sun is shining into my east-facing office window and it is time to consider my Saturday morning To Do List. I hope you enjoyed the brief cemetery talk and tour. Next week, I expect to have some new photos from my studio to post.

Until then, I wish you health and happiness; and may the Lord hold you in the hollow of His hand.


  1. Very interesting and timely as my artist grou is going to do a "cemetery stone rubbing" artist play date!

    1. Thanks Elaine! I can't wait to hear about your cemetery outing!