31 Days: Apocalypse, Now ~ Day 28 :: What’s Underneath II

metalorbburiedfernKCCExtNLNH29Sept2018Welcome to day 28 of 31 Days of Apocalypse, Now, a month of posts about apocalypse, revelation, uncovering what’s been hidden. Each post will look at these ideas from its own vantage point, which may not obviously connect with the others, and which may only peripherally seem related. I won’t attempt to tie the posts together. They’ll all be listed here, as they are posted.


“… the snow had transformed the vast necropolis into an immaculate park, tranquil and soft, the way in Paris, sometimes, severe winters transformed the gardens into solitary cemeteries, black and white.” — Michel Serres, in his book Statues: The Second Book of Foundations (1987), quoted by Peter Johnson, Drifting in the Cemeteries

© Martin New – Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery, Montreal, Canada

Garden or necropolis? Depends on what’s concealed underneath, what’s covered with earth, snow, stonework.

And anyway, usually it’s both, a cemetery full of not only buried human bodies but also buried roots of other species: trees, shrubs, & flowers; an underground fungal network, strands of filaments; moss and lichen merging with eroding gravemarkers. Species from all kingdoms (because of course there are bacteria here, and protozoa in any standing water) mingling the past with the present, memory and the moment, among the statues, the stonework, and beneath the feet of the living creatures.

headstone with lichen overgrowth, Holy Trinity Cemetery, Harwich, MA (Cape Cod), Nov. 2016
baby graves filled with leaves and weeds, St. Mary’s Cemetery, Baltimore, Dec. 2014
headstone and grass, Colonial Park Cemetery, Savannah, Sept. 2008
ivy-and-lichen covered cross, Holy Trinity Cemetery, Harwich, MA (Cape Cod), Nov. 2016
fern growing from crypt, Colonial Park Cemetery, Savannah, Dec. 2015

A necropolis from the human standpoint is a living, breathing, lush world from the perspective of every other species. It’s a garden of graves.

Veins of ivy scale stones,
find footholds but
the caretaker cuts
earth short, peels
creepers from Cotswold
rock and props the dead
head to head so they won’t
topple like drunks
on their moss-soft shadows. ― Jalina Mhyana, The Trauma Scope: Poems of Heartache & Optical Illusion

red-bellied woodpecker, Colonial Park Cemetery, Savannah, Dec. 2013


Featured image: tree grown around gravestone, Porter Preserve, Boothbay, ME, June 2017

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