Remembrance Walkway

Graveyard WanderA quick stroll after work around one of the local graveyards. The weather has been pretty bad around the whole country these last few days, so it was nice to be out in the clear blue (and fairly chilly) sky.

Graveyards are interesting places to walk through – something I have featured in the past. Its an interesting walk through history, looking back a hundred years at lives once been. For me, in New Zealand, none of my close family have been buried- cremation being the final step in the bodily life. I know back in UK I have more buried family, from many generations ago.

Its also interesting to look at different funeral practices from culture to culture and religion to religion. For some its a bright and colourful celebration of ones life, for others a mourning and dark passing. Some cultures openly talk about it, and for others its one of those unspoken taboos that we avoid, perhaps in fear of the unknown?

Walking through the graveyard shows a mix of maintained and kept tombstones, as well as overgrown, forgotten and illegible ones. Have the family moved  out of the area, are there any family left? Who knows?

Todays shot was taken on the Ricoh GRD IV and post processed in Gimp. In this I gave the image a mild squish profile wise, converted to B&W and adjusted the contrast.

 

Back to Nature

I took a big walk in the CBD area today, searching out places I have no memory of going, or had not been for a good many years. One such place was the Symonds Street Cemetery. Now a historic parks area, I found it quite fascinating, with mixed emotions.

Established in 1842, by Western New Zealand terms, this is a very old graveyard, home to many early Auckland settlers, and several people of notable title. From the road, the cemetery is selectively maintained, but as you walk in and dwell a little deeper, nature really has taken over.

On one hand it is sad to see this history being cracked up, overturn and overgrown, but from another perspective, its almost the ultimate return to nature. I cant say I have placed much thought on where I want to end up at end of days, but I don’t think I would be that upset if after a century passes I have been engulfed by a tall tree that was once a shrub by my headstone.

Walking through the Cemetery I saw a number of homeless, or evidence of them staying there. A tent hidden in the overgrown wild bush being one of the more ‘high class’ establishments. Parts of the lower cemetery, where the highway has cut across, had been used for a dumping ground of tyres. Everywhere I went there was evidence of gravestones that had fallen into disrepair, or literally been absorbed into bush and tree as the forest took over. One other thing I found interesting is how the city also has ‘overgrown’ over the graveyard. Grafton Bridge, a tall two lane vehicle bridge cuts over the graveyard- leaving but inches over a number of headstones, and likely meant relocating a number more.

For those in the CBD looking for a walk, I highly recommend it. There are a number of tracks one can explore, and although I made mention of vagrants, I have never had an issue with such folk as long as you are respectful (there was only a handful anyway). Its a beautiful inner city bush. As the cemetery is divided into two with Symonds street breaking it down the middle, I will likely visit the other half another day when I head that way.

Photo wise, taken on the Ricoh GRD IV with bleach bypass, all I did with post in Gimp was crop the aspect a little and resize for web.

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