Peaceful

I’ve never been particularly fascinated by cemeteries. I’ve seen beautiful ones—Paris, Savannah, Washington—but I never sought them out. In fact, aside from those that were proclaimed beautiful and worthy of a visit by some reputable source, I avoided them altogether. And then I got older, and people I loved started to die. Friends, too young, taken by cancer. My father, perhaps of “the age,” but nevertheless I wasn’t ready. These jolts, these shifts in the tectonic plates of ourselves, change how we see many things. For me it changed how I see the places where these people are often “laid to rest.”

I’m not big on the euphemisms associated with death. “Laid to rest” is one of them. And yet, when I see the cemeteries of small French towns, the idea of rest seems appropriate. There is something truly restful about them, and whatever I once thought of as “creepy,” nonexistent. Perhaps the phrase has a double edge. The ones we loved are laid to remain. But we, who visit them, are given a peaceful place to rest with our meditations and feelings. The restfulness is for the living and dead. A place of quiet, calm.

The cemeteries here are beautiful. Filled with old stone, intricate ironwork. Porcelain flowers that have long lost their color, and in their decline gained a poetic beauty. The word “hush” comes to mind. Hush. Hush.

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4 Responses to Peaceful

  1. PEIROUX says:

    dove é???

  2. anna says:

    I’ve also often felt the need to remain quiet and “not disturb” anything when I’ve visited French cemeteries.. There is, well to me, a certain majesty and eminence. Most of the souls here, now hopefully at rest, led very full lives and lived countless adventures, trauma, pain, joy and passion. Now they lie beneath their own personal monuments, some glorious, some very humble. We do need to walk softly and show respect. Appreciate the beauty and the peace that such places offer. Acknowledge the lives that passed before us. -A

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