I have always been fascinated by cemeteries. These κοιμητήριον, or “sleeping places” are often an under-appreciated and utilized part of our public cultural landscape. At this moment in history, we have a particularly monomic use of cemetery grounds. However, they did not always have such a singularity of purpose. Indeed, when uncle FLO (Frederick Law Olmstead) designed Mount Auburn Cemetery in the Boston suburb of Watertown, it was intended to be a “garden cemetery”, and function much like a park. With a bucolic, open, rolling design, the landscape was accentuated with studded with beautifully worked monuments to life. This also reflected changing cultural reflections upon death and the afterlife.
The vast, sparse expanse of the space channels my attention to the few elements that are present: the sky, the white marble grave markers, the verdant grass, the sweeping Bay views, and stately monterey pine. Continuing up the slope and neatly hopping a low stone fence revealed a stand of close growing Monterey Cyress, standing as straight and orderly as a brigade of soldiers.
An American flag will never fly from the rifle rack of my pickup truck, but I feel humbled and grateful for those who protect our country.
Click here for more info from the NPS about Post Cemetery