March 28, 2011
Places Of Tranquility.
My home is of course at all times my refuge and my safe haven.
Nevertheless, as warmer and brighter days define this season, I venture more often outside to my secret hideaways, those that are playgrounds to my thinking and my contemplation and where I find solace and comfort, which my body and soul currently crave.
However melancholic and odd it may sound, I must confess that these escapes bring me most often to graveyards and cemeteries, as they did again this past weekend.
The most serene, sheltered and transcending moments in time, which I carry in my recollection, have been experienced in churchyards, old monasteries or memorials. I have never found these places uncomfortable or unpleasant. On the contrary; they are defined by an endless atmosphere of quietness that is infinitely soothing.
As a teenager I wrote an assay piece based on reflections over a walk in a cemetery; most likely the best assay I ever wrote as a young adult. Even today I recall how effortlessly my pen documented the train of thoughts, as I described my stroll around the graves.
This happens to me time and time again and I feel almost always as if a veil of troubles is lifted from my face and I can see clearly.
I never feel that I am surrounded by death. On the contrary, I feel surrounded by lives lived. To some, this is after all only a gateway to another world. To others simply a tribute and a memorial to those we once held dear and yet again, to almost everyone, cemeteries offer a certain snapshots of moments in history, as the inscriptions on the grave stones, standing as silent sentinels of time, tells stories of the past.
My eyes are often drawn to the infinite amounts of flowers, bushes and intricately garnished spots - it is as if nature always thrives here. Even neglected churchyards are always beautiful in any seasons, as when nature is left to grow unrestricted, it flourishes, creating the most amazing pieces of living art.
I have been to carefully maintained graveyards; some simple, some intricate, as well as to forgotten small cemeteries, which were lush and overgrown with scented shrubs - finding equal solace in each.
Sitting down below the tree crowns, at any time of the year, while letting myself become infused with the surrounding stillness is incredibly relaxing. With such an ease the troubles of my every day life are removed from my perception as I am faced with the greatest secret of them all - the secret of life and death.
At all times this reinforces the belief in me of how precious and magical our time here truly is - and most of all how limited and short - and how very often we forget this. Instead, we get caught up in the turmoil of our busy days, while we waste our time and energy on petty and insignificant things, letting ourselves succumb to unnecessary irritations.
About the images below: My favorite place of tranquility near my home is a private, but today abandoned family graveyard located on the grounds of an old mansion, today turned museum.
It is tucked away between trees, hidden from view and off the beaten path. Very few people know of its existence. The images below are taken on my walk there this past autumn and even though I was sitting there alone for almost an hour, I have never ever felt less lonely and more safe then on that early, sunny September morning.