It’s becoming something of a tradition that J and I take a walk at Mount Auburn Cemetery on Christmas Day. Last year, we saw a very tame wild turkey hunkered on a decorated grave, and this year, in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school shootings, I couldn’t help but notice the sad stones marking the graves of lost children.
Many of the stones at Mount Auburn Cemetery are old; consecrated in 1831, the cemetery is America’s first garden cemetery, with its graves situated in a lushly landscaped park-like setting. But among the old stones are newer ones that loved ones faithfully adorn with flowers, wreaths, candles, and other decorations to brighten an otherwise lonely resting spot.
Perhaps because of memorials like these, I don’t find cemeteries to be depressing, just bittersweet: a reminder of mortality that makes me more (not less) grateful to be alive. The one thing we all share, after all, is mortality, and taking a quiet walk on an otherwise festive day is a great way to keep things in perspective.
Some folks are lucky to reach an advanced age before they die, and others exit this world far too soon. Is the richness of your life measured by length or by depth, by the number of your days or by the way you spend those days?
Click here for more pictures from this year’s Christmas Day walk at Mount Auburn Cemetery.