Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Turned Around

Inspired by a recent post from my friend Robin Craig of Gotham Girl Chronicles, I spent an afternoon wandering through Hollywood Cemetery.

Robin's post on Green-Wood Cemetery featured sweeping views of monuments and statuary, markers, benches, paths, and ponds – in the seasons of spring, summer and fall. She included images of the little remembrances visitors left in memory of loved ones. She told the story of this place, majestic and serene, as only she can tell.

Hollywood Cemetery winds through 135 acres of valleys, hills and stately trees. Located next to Richmond, Virginia's Oregon Hill neighborhood at 412 South Cherry Street, the cemetery runs alongside the James River. It is the resting place of two United States Presidents, James Monroe and John Tyler, as well as the only Confederate States President, Jefferson Davis. It is also the resting place of 28 Confederate generals, more than any other cemetery in the country; these include George Pickett and J.E.B. Stuart.

At first, my vision was blocked by the images of Robin's pictures in my head.  I looked for those pictures, the ones like hers, because I admire her art. But I couldn't see like her.

So, I gave up and just wandered. Without a map, I got totally turned around. Lost.

And then I found the most amazing view. A place of contrasts.  The sharp sunlight streaming in and the quiet darkness nestled in the corners. Benches for rest and gates for coming and going. Colorful stained glass and monochrome marble. Silhouetted arches and wide open views of the river. Memories of those interred within and soul-searching of those living without.





Not till we are completely lost or turned around . . .
Do we begin to find ourselves.        –Henry David Thoreau

13 comments:

  1. What a lovely location. The first image is just stunning.

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    1. Thanks, Rebecca. That view just took my breath away. There was a soft autumn breeze and the day was warm and sunny but not in that harsh and glaring way - just lovely - and the picture taking was effortless. What a good feeling!

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  2. So glad you kept with it and found your vision, I saw Robin's post of those amazing images. She is such a talented photographer. That light you found with the repeated arches is glories. Beautiful area with so much history, you are one lucky duck.

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    1. You couldn't be more right . . . about the lucky duck! I felt so blessed to be a part of this scene. I met a nice older gentlemen who was there visiting his wife who had passed away. We sat on that bench and talked for a long awhile -about what it means to love someone with all your heart, about how much it hurts to go on, and about picking up the pieces of your life to find joy again. I know that this is a process you had to face - and I admire you for the joyful person you are.

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  3. I love, love, love wandering in cemeteries.

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    1. Yes, Sarah, we like many of the same places. I've visited your photo stream enough to know that we could make good partners in exploration and discovery. I am so glad your turned down the road to find that bridge - in your post today!

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  4. Donna, I love coming for a visit because I know you are always going to share such interesting thoughts and places you've visited. That first shot in your post today is gorgeous...almost surreal.....I know the gentlemen you met was so thankful that you took the time to talk with him. I bet you were blessed too...

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  5. What a beautiful place! That first shot is simply stunning, Donna! It awakens my soul and reminds me of how we've been brought from darkness {death} into light {life}. Inspiring!

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  6. There's so much peacefulness in your wonderful pictures Donna.... peacefulness, quietness, serenity inside this lovely and simple chapel which invites to meditation... as well as in the gorgeous scenery outside with the river stream gently flowing lined by autumn foliages which reminds us that life is also a flow... and though, there is a symbolical contrast between the place where people whose life has ended lie for eternity and the river outside as a sympbol of a fiery and impetuous stream of life... As always you're such an open and receptive person that I'm not surprised that some people share so spontaneously their pain with you... your pictures, Donna,express something sublime, poetic as well as universal...

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  7. Before I read anything...I always look at the images. That first image just knocked my socks off. (Well I could've said it was drop dead gorgeous, but thought that wouldn't be fitting, :)

    THANK YOU so much for your kind words. I so enjoy seeing through your eyes and I'm so happy you went back to the cemetery. Keep going back...keep getting lost...and so much will begin to speak to you.

    Always look forward to your postings! xo

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  8. That top photo just pulls me in. I want to sit on that little stone bench, feel the warm sun surround me, as I drop my head and let all my worries slide off my shoulders. To look out those gates into the bright blue sky is magical and of course the stained glass windows to remind me that we are never alone. Some days it's a photo like this one, that speaks without words. Only with symbols, deeply rooted and felt before.

    I to am glad you got turned around and lost. In the end, I think you brought a tribe of us back. A truly meaningful post.

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