The Celebration of the Spirit
One of the things that has always drawn me to rural African-American cemeteries is the diverse expressions in honoring the dead. In many communities, some folks may not have had the funds to buy a manufactured marker, but there was almost always someone who knew how to pour concrete, who could fashion molds, and who worked with materials at hand, even if it meant little more than a sturdy stick to write and draw in the wet cement. Sometimes a rock or piece of slate was all that was used to mark the final resting place. The end result are markers that can celebrate life, honor death, and remind us that lack of funds does not diminish the creative spirit–if anything that spirit flourishes. There might not be a symmetry to these resting places–at least one that makes sense to the orderly eye. However, if one looks closely, graves, markers, trees, and bushes can take on a different kind of order–one in which the man-made and nature co-exist.
Am I romanticizing these sites? I hope not–but in the years of seeing and recording many different kinds of cemeteries during the course of my architectural surveying, these spots (along with certain ethnic cemeteries) remain special.
Images taken with iPhone 4s and processed with Snapseed and PhotoToaster
For today: In Memory