A Date With the Departed, NYT’s op ed article

November 20, 2008 – 4:21 pm

This beautifully written piece about cemeteries and our cultures changing relationship to them and the folks within, can be read on the New York Times site here. The author is Thomas Lynch, an excerpt below.

“We humans are bound to and identified with the earth, the dirt, the humus out of which our histories and architectures rise — our monuments and memorials, cairns and catacombs, our shelters and cityscapes. This “ground sense,” to borrow William Carlos Williams’s idiom, is at the core of our humanity. And each stone on which we carve our names and dates is an effort to make a human statement about death, memory and belief. Our kind was here. They lived; they died; they made their difference. For the ancient and the modern, the grave is an essential station.

But less so, lately, especially here in the United States, where we whistle past our graveyards and keep our dead at greater distance, consigned to oblivions we seldom visit, estranged and denatured, tidy and Disney-fied memorial parks with names like those of golf courses or megachurches.”

Painting of Riverside markers courtesy Sharon Feder

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