Thursday, April 28, 2011

We're not in Kansas anymore, or are we?

Spring in many parts of the country brings horrendous tornados, and having grown up in the midwest I am very familiar with monthly tornado drills (the first Tuesday of the month) when the sirens would ring out across the town.  As a North Carolinian for 10 of the past 12 years, I've only worried about tornadoes that have spawned from hurricanes in the fall.  This past month, however, has brought North Carolina, and the Triangle specifically, horrible tornadoes that have caused loss of life and destruction of property.  As I noted in my previous post, Historic Oakwood Cemetery, in downtown Raleigh since 1869, was hard hit on April 16.  While the clean up has been amazing, there's still work to do.  As the only non-profit cemetery in the city, the work is not only laborious but hugely expensive as well.  Check out some photos of the destruction.

Now look at the restoration work already being completed!

The cemetery staff is dedicated to restoring Historic Oakwood Cemetery to it's most beautiful state.  Since the devestation, they have already hosted an Easter Egg Hunt activity for neighborhood children and an Easter Sunrise Service.  On Saturday, my tour Stories & Stones will occur at the cemetery at 1pm.  The staff is working diligently and I have no doubt that Oakwood will return to the peaceful sanctuary in a busy city in no time.

These spring tornadoes here in North Carolina and the deep south have changed all of us.  The hurt and devastation cause by the loss of life will linger for years to come.  However, it is reinvigorating to see that slowly, and as a team, we can take charge and work to rebuild our communities with the help of caring neighbors and friends.

To watch this transformation unfold at Historic Oakwood Cemetery, visit the cemetery on facebook or follow their happenings on Twitter. @Historicoakwood.

Feel free to come out to the tour on Saturday!  We start at the Cemetery office at 1pm.  

Sunday, April 17, 2011

"Listen to the energy of it"

The title of today's post refers directly to the power of a tornado.  This weekend, communities across the south were affected by the "energy" of a powerful spring storm.  Unfortunately, lives were lost and no matter what physical destruction has occurred- the families affected will never be the same.

As another day has dawned, and it was a glorious, Carolina blue sky kind of day, other types of damage are being assessed.  Today, both Raleigh City Cemetery and Historic Oakwood Cemetery fans are deeply saddened by the damage to both of these beloved sites.  Visit the facebook page of Oakwood Cemetery to stay up to date on the status of the cemetery.   To learn more about the damage to Raleigh City Cemetery, visit the following link

The power and energy of this storm left a path of destruction that won't soon be forgotten. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sunday, January 30, 2011

All in the Interpretation...

How do we remember our loved ones that have left this life?  For some, photos of happier times. For others, such as those in some Amish communities across our country who don't utilize photographs, they simply hold tight to the memories and Funeral Cards with information about the deceased.  In many cases, we remember our loved ones and mark their existence with beautiful headstones. Over time, our headstones have changed. In the colonial era, we utilized the skull and cross bones, or winged skulls.  At the height of the Victorian Era, we found ourselves building tall obelisks, beautiful urns, and deeply symbolic but community minded markers.  The bigger the better. Now, as we walk through memorial parks we see simpler, smaller, flat stones.  Occasionally at cemeteries we'll see photos or etchings on granite.

But all of these types of markers cost money.  What then, for those who can't afford or choose not to memorialize with large stones?  Does it make the life of those passed any less important?  Hardly.  In fact, as this Graveyard Rabbit wanders through cemeteries it is the simpler stones that often catch my eye. 

At Andrew's Chapel Cemetery in Durham, NC, a cemetery I've been longing to stop at for 3 years, what made me stop and pause were not the fancier stones, but in fact the simple crosses made of PVC pipe that marked a handful of graves.  Who were these folks that were left behind by a simple symbol that equals hope, love and resurrection for millions of citizens around the world?  Not one of the graves marked by the PVC pipe crosses had any indicator of who was interred below.  In fact, next to one cross was a small marker left behind by the funeral home, but the name had long worn off.

While of course, many stones through out the ages have merely one symbol on them, a fish, a wedding ring, shaking hands, a hand pointing up etc which tells us something about the individual, the row of PVC pipe crosses struck me as different.  While still a description of the person as the examples of above, the cross, with no name, no birth or death dates, no epitaphs, simply tell us one thing about the individual. 

If you could be memorialized by one symbol what would it be?  I wondered that as I left Andrew's Chapel Cemetery this afternoon?  Would it be a cross, like many of the individuals interred there?  I think mine may have a book... but 200 years after I'm gone, as a graveyard rabbit explores my final resting place, what will they think of that symbol? How will they interpret me? 

More on Andrew's Chapel Cemetery in the days to come.... Happy Sunday!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Welcome to the Graveyard Rabbit of the Triangle!

Greetings and Salutations!!  Whether you are a first time reader or are coming back for a visit-- thank you for taking the time to browse!!  I'm relatively new to blogging, and trying to expand my "blogosphere" with visits to new (to me) cemeteries as frequently as possible. So feel free to look around, follow, leave a comment, ask a question... and I'll keep blogging!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Thankfully-- the internet exists....

Because then I can at least look for cemeteries ONLINE! :-) here are two neat sites that I've recently found:  A beautiful historic cemetery in GA. The story of an amazing local (Durham) woman and the legacy she left behind. 

Happy surfing!

snow falls....

I live in the South for a reason....  we don't typically have the FOURTH season-- winter!  But this year, we do....  BRRR.  So all of this snow and ice has side tracked my cemetery visits!!!!!!  Hope to be back on trail soon!