Sunday, April 24, 2011


Near my house is an old, abandoned Swedish graveyard dating back to the late 1800's. It sits on a hillside, nestled between housing developments in a mostly unimproved grove of trees. It is fenced with a split rail fence, now falling down, though not clearly resulting from the elements of nature or the elements of humanity.

Beer cans and soda bottles litter the graveyard, trash accumulating against the trees and gravestones. Teenagers have taken to hanging out, seeking solitude for their solitary group escapes from the rest of society. I wonder how much thought they give to the uninvited guests laying below them, and whether there is an implicit invitation...suspecting the answer is a bravado joke or lack of thought at all; certainly there is no respect for this place I seek for quiet contemplation.

The headstones are old, and looking at how the moss covers and owns them, destroying the identifying engraving differentiating one life from another, I realize how impermanent even the most permanent seeming things are. We seek to immortalize ourselves in one final, lasting way, and within a century, even the most lasting thing we come up with: carving into a solid rock, we are washed away - a mere blink in the moment of universal time. Standing here, my body - this "me" - is even less lasting.

I tend to stop here on my longer runs. Perhaps it is simply a lazy way to take a quick break and catch my breath, but in the gentle stream of thoughts in my head, it serves as punctuation. I recognize the juxtaposition of my living, my exerted breathing, with the lack of breath...a brief acknowledgment of my final destination beyond this run and the next, a bit of reminder to actually live in the time between now and then, and several moments of gratefulness that I am here, now, doing this, thinking this, being lucky enough to stop and think these thoughts and have these feelings.

I share this moment, and the next, I snap a few pictures, trying to capture these thoughts in a visual 1000 words, but for once, the picture cannot nearly convey all the thoughts I bring, and so I add these words.


  1. Given the littering around it i would say it is more due to the elements of "humanity" and less there of nature.

    I don't think our immortality is done through rocks and stones and if we believe as such then we are a dumber race than I originally thought. We live through the lives of the ones we love and the ones we touch during our own journey. We live in their hearts and through the stories they tell of the new generation. We live in a small way through their DNA. All goes back to nature nurture argument. Some leave behind body of works to create their mark and in a way stay alive through the centuries.

    Sounds like a quiet haven for you....