We spent some time on Saturday wandering around one of my favorite places in the Greater Boston area, the beautiful and serene Mt. Auburn Cemetery.
It may seem strange that I enjoy the company of, well, the dead, and I myself admit it seems odd, but this is so much more than just a cemetery. This is a national park, in fact the first landscaped public park in the U.S., and its rolling hills and lush greenery make it one of the most peaceful spaces I’ve ever experienced. And there is something to be said for the solemn silence you sense, walking amongst all those resting souls. Some quite famous ones too. Mary Baker Eddy. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Oliver Wendell Holmes. And my personal favorite, my idol, Isabella Stewart Gardner.
Here she rests:
Along this quiet little row of lovely tombs, many unmarked.
I love the old tombstones, some so elaborate and ornate, others simple and humble. Some surprisingly modern looking in design, despite their age. I love reading the old names, love the stories you can imagine when you calculate their ages, the way they used to write the epitaphs, “Born in Boston, Died in Boston.”
The pathways all have these lovely names, Oster, Camellia, Catalpa. We saw rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, countless birds, so much life among the tombstones.
I can’t help but feel happy here, at ease with the circle of life. Andreas and I don’t want our bodies buried in the ground but there’s something to be said for having a physical place where your successors and strangers alike can come visit a part of you. I like to say hello to some of the oldest souls as we pass them. I wonder the last time they had a visit, if anyone is left to visit them at all.
Unfortunately we had to leave earlier than we wanted as we were politely informed by a kindly groundsman that dogs are not allowed, which is fair enough (neither are bikes and joggers by the way though, both of which I think are a pity). But it was still lovely to be there again. I highly recommend this place to anyone who’s never been, and if you’re in the market for burying space, they do (often) take the liberty to point out that space is still indeed available.
We’re happy just to visit for now.