Wednesday Vignette: Melancholy Terrain

Current Status: Dislocated.

The new year began with shocking news of my youngest cousin’s death, which led to unexpected trips to Maryland and Boston for a visitation/viewing, a funeral mass, a 3-hour funeral reception, and finally, an interment several states away.

Spouse and I left the cat at home again and took the train from Boston on a few days’ notice to Baltimore, stayed with friends for four nights there, and spent hours with family — sisters, brother-in-law, nephews, cousins, cousin’s wife and kids, aunt, uncle, my cousin’s fiancée — and lots of grieving, shocked strangers; and about a week later, the two of us drove a couple of hours to the funeral home in Belmont & the cemetery in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, for the intimate and mercifully brief interment on a bright, frigidly cold morning.

It’s all — the train trip and its usual (pleasant) blurry feeling; the car trip; the funeral homes, churches, cemetery; the here and there; the mish-mash of family, friends, strangers; the memories and connections; the tears and laughter; the familiarity and strangeness; the sweeping surprise of it — left me feeling disoriented and dislocated.

2019 feels like a blur so far. I’m trying to locate myself in this murky shifting terrain of melancholy.


crepe place, South Station, Boston, Sunday morning
surreal NYC skyline on an early January Sunday afternoon
layered movement: river, Sunday highway, train view, near Philadelphia


brick and branches in Annapolis, Monday before the visitation


Annapolis docks, pavilion, Tuesday after the funeral and reception


rowhouses, Catonsville, MD, on a grey Wednesday afternoon


near New York City, on the train home Thursday afternoon
blur and swirl of sky, water, earth, near New York City, Thursday

Another Monday 

Mt. Benedict Cemetery, West Roxbury MA, a cold Monday morning


“With this expansive and meaning-imbued terrain the landscape holds within it the natural habitat for melancholy, as the locus of places of contemplation, memory, death, sadness. Yet, the place of melancholy with the landscape is one which is often resisted, marginalized and edited out.” — Jacky Bowring, from Melancholy and the Landscape: Locating Sadness, Memory, and Reflection in the Landscape (2017)


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