Monday, November 19, 2012

Kirkwood Cemetery

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
I ran into Amy this morning in the stairwell, and she was telling me about a small cemetery she passed on a recent trip in California.
"I grew up across the street from a cemetery!" I blurted out.
I can't believe I totally forgot about that, but maybe having that small cemetery right across the street has stuck with me somehow.  Seeing as how I picked hanging out in cemeteries for a month on the blog.

The two graves were surrounded by a black stone wall.  As I grew in inches every year, I got closer and closer to seeing over the top.  Before I could see over the wall though, I remember having adults place me on top of the wall, and walking all around the perimeter of the tiny cemetery as I held on tight to their hand.  I think by the time I was able to peer easily over the foreboding wall, I was more interested in boys and best friends, to care very much anymore.

I don't remember anything creepy about it sleeping so close to two graves.  The cemetery was just there, a permanent part of my childhood landscape, not a place where dead people were underground.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

More or Less

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
More time spent here...
 Could buy you less time here...
And even if it doesn't, you'll still feel a whole hell of a lot better before you die.

A couple Bikram quotes for the day:

“Death is always in our back pocket. The faster we run, the quicker the shadow shows up. Walk in the yoga room, turnaround and face death and look in the mirror. Growl like a Bengal tiger, grind away like an English Bull dog and death will turn into a chicken and run away.”

"Would you rather suffer 90 minutes or 90 years?"

Monday, November 12, 2012

Cemeteries and Death

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Cemeteries represent death.  Right?  Isn't that the first thing you think of when you see a cemetery?  I do.  But then again, I might think about death more than the average person.  I used to absolutely obsess about it, in fact.  Not a day went by in my early 20's that I didn't think I was going to die.  From the distance of age, those thoughts now seem completely illogical.  And yet, at the time, they were as real as anything else in my life. 

I couldn't even pass a cemetery without thinking that seeing it meant that would be the day I would die.  I couldn't drink Rogue Brewery's "Dead Guy Ale."  Or even hear that "American Pie" song on the radio.  Everywhere I looked, there was some symbol indicating that the end was near.  Those days were exhausting.

Somewhere, between having children and becoming a mother, I grew out of those days of panic.  I no longer see death lurking at the end of every exhale, feeling my relaxed body floating up to the heavens; and shaking myself back into the tense comfort of my living body.  I still fear death, though.  I still do not want to leave my family, my husband, my kids.  As much as life sucks sometimes, I have no desire to release it for the unknown.

Nobody really knows what happens after death.  There are stories of people that have "come back", beliefs grounded in faith, and the flat thought that nothing exists after life.  Like the expansiveness of outer-space, the unknown of death is just too much for me to ponder.  The discomfort it brings isn't worth it right now.  I have so much life to live, so many goals to achieve, so many earthly questions to answer. 

But someday, I can see myself sitting and pondering the great unknown. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

It's a beautiful day in the cemetery

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Loved this's been a nice autumn here in Seattle.
Bruce and Brandon Lee are buried here at our local cemetery.  Someone was sitting in front of the headstones so I had to take my shot from a respectable distance.  I find it hard to shake the feeling that I don't belong in the cemetery since I don't have any loved ones buried there, so I try to be very "stealthy."
Notice the ground crew in the background.  Were they preparing a grave?  Updating and freshening up a plot with new landscaping?  I never got close enough to ask, although, I had fantasies of walking right up to them and interviewing them about their job.
This headstone was carved out of a tree.  It's too bad the photo didn't really capture much of the amazing detail work.
And, one last beautiful tree.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

November: Hanging Out in Cemeteries

Posted by Amy Baranski and Melissa Baumgart

 Photos courtesy of: Tallulah and Mara (both 7 years of age)