You know by now some of the reasons I like to visit graveyards: the beauty, the history, the sense of peace I find there.
Well, sadly, my most recent cemetery visit left me feeling not enlightened and peaceful but ENRAGED.
I should have been more prepared, since I was told by the person who provided directions to this unmarked, off-the-beaten-path graveyard that he didn’t want to publicize its location due to past vandalism, but I was still taken aback by what I found.
Let me back up. We found the trailhead without difficulty. Our informant had told me that he himself went through and cleared the trail some years ago, for which we were grateful. Passage is still relatively easy, and his directions were quite clear.
We enjoyed wildflowers–and dodged MUCH poison ivy–along the way. There were signs of human life left behind too, including several partly destroyed wooden structures the purpose of which I cannot even guess at, but of course I am curious.
And then, at the top of a hill, by an impressive white oak tree, we found the graveyard–or what was left of it.
This historical family graveyard, with graves dating back to 1840, has been systematically and brutally vandalized.
As you know, I’ve written extensively about the problem of cemetery upkeep. I’ve seen many neglected cemeteries with stones broken by the elements (or even cows!) or grown over with vegetation, but I’ve never seen anything like this.
What kind of people think it’s fun to destroy not only a bit of their own local history, but basically wipe out the last remaining evidence that a living human person once walked the earth? To me it’s almost like killing the person for a second time.
Go, if you would, to this find-a-grave entry to read a little about a wonderful man whose grave was desecrated, and wonder at the kind of people who would do this to his final resting place.
I hope that when they are older and contemplating their own mortality they will look back on what they must have viewed as harmless hijinks with shame.
The rest of my cemetery blogging can be found right here.