Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hope Cemetery

With Sherry in Ottawa for two days earlier this week, I decided to take advantage of both her absence and a nearly full moon to hie myself off to Vermont for a few days. For some time now, I've been thinking about doing time exposures, i.e., long exposures of thirty seconds to five minutes of nighttime landscapes. Being on Long Island this isn't the easiest thing to arrange, given the amount of light pollution we have, but in the mountains I wouldn't have any of those worries.

Except for the weather, that is. I arrived to find the mountain under a cloud, with rain continuing throughout the night. Monday dawned overcast, and according to the weather reports, was due to stay that way all day and all night. So much for eerie nighttime moonscapes. After breakfast I loaded my backpack into the car, and drove north to the city of Barre, just outside the state capital of Montpelier.

Hope Cemetery on Maple Avenue is the permanent home to some of the finest examples of granite carving and design you will find just about anywhere. The monument on the right stands a mile or so from the cemetery at the intersection of Main Street and Maple Avenue. The base reads: "In honor of all Italian-Americans whose achievements have enriched the social, cultural and civic vitality of this city, state and region. Erected by their descendants and friends 1985".

Getting to the cemetery itself, several acres spread over rolling hills, and you're struck by not only the quality of the stones, but the many types you'll encounter.

For starters, you've got balls:

And you'll find cubes:

Not one but two pyramids:

And a maple leaf:

Of course, simple shapes aren't enough for some people. So it's interesting to note that while people are encouraged to be careful about where they leave their vehicles, the residents have no such restrictions, and there's at least one grave with a car parked right on top:

People have many different ideas about their 'final resting place'. Some are quite the traditionalists, right down to separate beds:

Others take a less formal approach:

(Although, just as in life, the remote is nowhere to be seen.)

Some of the other stones with a light-hearted approach to death include the biplane, soaring above cloud nine:

And not far from the plane you'll find this crouching, contented cat:

Today's visit to Hope Cemetery has been sponsored by the letter "A":

All pictures taken Monday, July 21, 2008


Steve Rogg said...

If you haven't stopped at Old Deerfield Village, MA off of I91 you need to. Headstones there go back to the 1600's, you might want to take some B&W there.

Anonymous said...

I'm rethinking the cremation thing. Maybe we'll put you in Barre cemetery with a large Kodak Brownie on top. (If you're really lucky, you'll be dead first. If not, oh well.) Cute shots.

Sharon said...

Great post! What a wonderful collection of individualists in one place.

hamilton said...

I am not quite sure what to think of some of these. perhaps I am more of a traditionalist than I realized.

Sondra said...

Very Far OUT..I see no reason not to celebrate life at the time of Dying!!

s.c said...

Its going to look a bit like Nigeria where people want to be buried in a plane or a mercedes or whatever and let their coffin make like it.

biebkriebels said...

You have a cemetery with lots of special gravestones. Haven't seen this before.

Kathy said...

I guess this will be the wave of the future!

Julie said...

Oh dear, I admit to cringing at some of these. What were some of these people thinking!! Were they just allowing character to ooze out? Perhaps they did consider that taste did not matter, but freedom of expression was paramount.

The wonderful thing is that our world caters for all types. I am just grateful that I do not live close.

As always, fascinating concept, told with a firm tongue-in-cheek.

The Paw Relations said...

What amazing gravestones. Livens up the place I suppose.

Herding Cats

Gene said...

Wacky! Less tasteful perhaps than the massive mausoleums of old, but not stranger than building a house for your remains.