I thought I would share my adventures in cemetery wandering with you today. My husband could tell you that I would rather go roam through a cemetery than visit a park on some days, which is quite contradictory to how I feel about the entire ritual of funerals, etc. In no way do I desire to be “laid to rest” beneath the stone, preferring to be cremated and my remains returned to the earth. However, the mystery and intense history that lies within the solemn confines of a cemetery intrigue me, not for what state its residents may currently be in, but rather what their lives meant to those they loved and who loved them while they walked in the world.
I have visited many cemeteries, from small, nearly hidden nooks in unheard of towns to large famous and semi-famous grounds. At any moment I might be awed, amused or saddened by the messages I find inside the gates. One of my favorite cemeteries is the one I visited recently while on a “girl” trip with a close friend. We made the drive to Natchez, Mississippi for some “on the road” time so that we could catch up, stop and window shop and see the lovely things that tend to flash by through our car windows as we race through our daily lives.
Natchez is one of those southern cities that is rich in history, arts and crafts, antiques and little town charm. We were fortunate to even see the Queen of the Mississippi Riverboat docked while we were there. I could almost hear Howard Keel singing to Kathryn Grayson as the strains of ‘Only Make Believe’ drifted through my memory. That musical was my mother’s all time favorite and I learned to love it as well.
We spent much of our day wandering in and out of shops, picking up a random treasure here or there, then stopping for a cooling drink now and then. It was a very relaxing day. Of course my favorite time was spent in the National Cemetery before we headed back out, but not before stopping at the Natchez Grand Village Native American site, where there are actual mounds and a reconstructed representation of the type of dwelling these beautiful people lived in. There is a small gift shop with several displays containing basic information on the Natchez tribes and a short video that can be watched as you cool off. If you really want to “walk in their shoes” you can take the hike which rolls alongside the creek where you can dip your toes if you would like. Gazing at the Kudzu covered bluffs and looking at my bare toes in the clear water make me long for a much more basic life. A very Pura Vida there among the Native Americans! So, here are some of the day’s adventures in photos for you to enjoy.
The Turning Angel is a phenomenon that has become quite the tourist attraction. My husband and I followed the instructions for being amazed but unfortunately I found it much more impressive close up. The cemetery is very old and some of the structures, headstones and vaults are ornate with incredible epitaphs and messages. There are even different sections for various nationalities and religions.
Of course my feathered friends made the photo ops much more amazing for me, the unwitting “birder”.
The moss lends an eerie effect as a backdrop to the statues and headstones.
My favorite shot of the day.
This effect was purely unexpected and all natural. Kind of ethereal, isn’t it?
They always fly away….eventually.
Ornate statue over plot. There were messages and images on all sides.
Burial plot of the Fathers and orphans of a long ago orphanage.
If I were to be laid to “rest” anywhere it would have to be in a place like this. What a glorious oak.
This plot and stone caught my eye. It had a most interesting epitaph.
Looks like a home for gnomes.
The leaning tree..
This is a section devoted to migrant ministers.
This was a gate with no fence. Very interesting.
Light through the trees
The earth places flowers of her own in honor of those resting there.
In honor of the Irish
And so we headed out.
Queen of the Mississippi riverboat.
We cooled off in this little riverside grill. Cold beer and good appetizers. There is an Isle of Capri Casino just around the corner for the more adventurous evenings.
Inside the Magnolia Grill
Our view from the Hotel Vue, a very nice hotel that we enjoyed and I recommend highly. Good complimentary breakfast and comfortable surroundings.
At the Natchez Grand Village. This is one mound left untouched.
A Village reconstruction to depict life there in the home of the Natchez tribes.
Cathedral in Natchez.
And that doesn’t even touch the tours you can take to see the antebellum homes or the famous “haunted tour” that runs at night. I hope you can visit this lovely city someday. We are fortunate that it is so near our home, just a few hours’ drive.
I’ll be back with more dragonfly photos. They are still entertaining me!