As my “hopping” adventures continue, I’ve found that many people fall in love with cemeteries during their childhood. It’s always been a part of their lives. For me, it happened in just the last few years. Maybe as the speed at which I approach my own exit from this earth seems to accelerate, visiting these old cemeteries prepares me to meet those who have gone before.
Fellow cemetery enthusiast Jennifer Graham lives near me in Tucker, Ga. She’s had a thing for cemeteries since childhood. She channels that affection into her business, White Rabbit Photography. I asked Jennifer to write about why she loves cemeteries and to share some of her favorite photos.
I’ve always been interested in cemeteries. Their history, beauty, haunting feeling and poignancy. Whether or not you’ve met those buried there, you can appreciate that a life was lived and is remembered in a simple headstone or a grand mausoleum. When you walk by a person’s grave, for that simple moment, perhaps they are remembered whether you call out their name or not.
There’s so much history in a cemetery. Yes, there are dates but you can see styles of monuments, inscriptions reflecting the times they lived in, information about the deceased and their family. Bible verses, favorite poems, quotes, cherished moments and much more are remembered.
Growing up, my family visited numerous historical sites. My father was in the military and moving states, cities and countries was a regular occurrence. Both of my parents love history, especially my dad, who taught it at different institutions. So we toured and tromped around any and every local site around our area. We visited large and small military graveyards. My fascination with cemeteries began at a young age as a result of these explorations. I couldn’t even tell you at what age because it seems like forever for me.
I’m pretty intrigued by anything tapophile [cemetery related], burial practices, rites, statuary, time periods, locations, especially those surrounded by modern growth and really most anything. I dearly love the iron work too. Even it can tell you about the period it was produced in.
I have to say, though, that my favorite thing of all is the silence in a cemetery. The total absence of technology. The soothing quiet. Only the dead with their rest and the sound of nature. I like the warmth of the sun and the sound of the wind when it’s chilly. There’s no one living present so no need to make conversation if you are not in the mood to do so. You can conduct your explorations in peace and honor the dead at the same time.
To see more of Jennifer’s work, you can visit her website for White Rabbit Photography.