Notes from a Cemetery

Spring is just starting to wake up after a long winter sleep. Now the snow is melting, and tombstones are beginning to peek out from the snowbanks.

I have only visited cemeteries in the middle of winter once in my life, and it’s not something I plan on doing again. Yes, it’s beautiful; stark white contrasted against dark stones just visible above the snow. Pristine smooth snow blankets the ground. But this is also why it’s not very fun to trudge through. Deep snow up to your knees, hidden stones creating tripping hazards, dangerous to you the intrepid explorer, and to the stones themselves.

When I visited those cemeteries in the middle of March, back in 2011, I was visiting one of my best friends in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. It was my first time visiting that part of Canada, and I wanted to take advantage of the time I had there. My friend was very kind to accommodate me, although she didn’t join me in the stone fields. She did chauffeur me around though, to two different cemeteries; the Pioneer Cemetery and Woodlawn Cemetery.

Pioneer cemeteries are my favorite to visit. They are usually the oldest and have beautiful old stones. They tell the stories of the original settlers of a town, and sometimes have much more information on them than modern stones do. Many names found on the gravestones in a pioneer cemetery are often on street signs within that town.

I loved visiting those cemeteries and thinking about my time wading through the snow to get that perfect shot, or to get closer to an interesting stone I spotted from far away. I also remember how cold it was, and how my boots were filled to the top with snow. It’s not something I have ever attempted again.

I prefer to spend my winters editing batches of old photos from the previous summer. Recently I have started organizing them for social media and this new website.

Now that spring is almost here, I am starting to plan this summer’s road trips and maybe a tour around my local cemeteries. It has been a while since I checked in on them. It’s always a pleasant surprise to find new and unique stones in a place I have visited many times before.

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