December 22, 2007

About those Christmas graveyard photographs.

I take fewer photographs in winter. It gets dark early, walks are shorter and quicker, and there's much less happening. I could make a practice of looking harder and forcing myself to see photographs, but mostly I don't. Sometimes, things look photographable, but I'm driving. I could stop, but maybe a dog or a man will come at me to see what trouble I'm causing. In winter, there are fewer dogs and men to worry me, but who stops the car in a snow bank? Photographs go untaken.

Yesterday I stopped. I was driving, as I often do, on the road called the Speedway, that runs between the two cemeteries, Resurrection and Forest Hill.


Was it a joke, naming the road between the cemeteries the Speedway? You are alive, but not for long. Earlier in the day, I'd driven over 100 miles on I-94, and the fog had been much worse. I think I was the only driver on the road who was constantly thinking: This is how 50-car pile-ups happen. I drove so I could stop without crashing if I saw an accident ahead, and no one else did. People are crazy. So the graveyards in the fog called out to me. I stopped and stalked through knee-deep snow to get my pictures.

What first caught my eye were all the wreaths in Resurrection Cemetery:


Resurrection is flatter and less beautiful than the historic Forest Hill on the other side of the Speedway. Perhaps you know that Chris Farley is buried there. He died 10 years ago last Tuesday.


Where are you on the Speedway?


Ron said...

myself, pretty close to the off ramp of the Speedway...

I understand why you'd take fewer photos, but honestly, you shouldn't because I feel you're good! These are very attractive pics, and I don't see enough quality winter pictures.

Going down 94? Heading towards A2? cool...stop for coffee...

Vee said...

When I was an undergrad at UW-Madison I lived downtown (W. Dayton) but worked on the far end of Mineral Point Rd. I often commuted by bike and discovered that the most direct, albeit harrowing, route was Regent to Speedway to Mineral Point Rd.

On my way back at night, I often rode through the cemetery on the side opposite the funeral home. The drive is downhill in that direction, surprisingly fast. And if there was any moonlight, I could see the drive without my headlight. It was a good way to end each day, swooping through the graves, in darkness and in silence.

Bob said...

True story: about 15 years ago, I was driving with a girlfriend down a road where there was a cemetery on one side of the road, and an apartment complex on the other. The apartment management had placed a sign on their lawn: HAPPY PEOPLE LIVE HERE! I read the sign aloud, then pointed across the street to the cemetery and said, "Unhappy people live THERE!"

Howls of laughter.

I guess you had to be there.

blogging cockroach said...

professor a--
dont you think these cutsey christmas pictures are a little kitsch...
i mean why dont you put up something bleak and edgy
to remind us of the true meaning of the holidays...

Dave F said...

Chris Farley....never understood how someone could be so self-destructive as he (yes, I realize he is not the only one.)

Moira Breen said...

I think I was the only driver on the road who was constantly thinking: This is how 50-car pile-ups happen. I drove so I could stop without crashing if I saw an accident ahead, and no one else did. People are crazy.

This has always been one of the great mysteries of human behavior to me. I've concluded that, re driving, people have the irrational belief that if conditions are familiar, they are therefore safe. E.g., in Florida a rare, anomalous, and harmless dusting of snow brought traffic to a crawl. Dime-a-dozen blinding rainstorms, however, would have people zipping along merrily at high speed, zero visibility be damned.

Contrarily, when I lived on the Front Range, treacherous ice and zero-visibility snow conditions on I-25 seemed to change speed and driving-distance habits not a whit. Uncommon and really rather light summer rains, on the other hand, turned everyone into geezer-drivers.

My own reaction to the not infrequent sandstorms on the Boulder-Denver turnpike, when visibility did not extend beyond the front bumper of one's car, was to get off the highway at first opportunity and wait it out. The natives carried on insouciantly at the standard 60-80 mph. Oddly enough, though, they always acted shocked and dismayed at consequent lethal 30-car pile-ups. (Gosh, how did that happen?)

So yes, people are crazy.

Meade said...

"Where are you on the Speedway?"

Half off with one wheel in the ditch - spinning - two flat tires, one of which is the spare.

It's a twenty year-old Chevy wagon no longer needed for hauling kids and dogs and groceries. The engine is well-tuned though and the wiper blades are brand spanking new. But it's getting close to the time for pulling the bike out of the back and taking a short cut right through that big looming graveyard. Whistling. In the dark.

Still, even off-Speedway, life is a wonderful adventure. My motto: Keep it Moving and Don't Stop Whistling.

I love the graveyard photos with the fog and snow and various branching structures of the trees. Time after time, you display a rare keen eye for keen rare beauty. Superb.

blogging cockroach said...

speaking of speeding, here's a little something from
venerable bede in the 8th century
it's a speech in the mouth of one of the nobles
of edwin king of northumbria
that takes place in witan the'palace'
--we're talking serious dark ages here
think lord of the rings--
but it's still pretty pertinent---

such seemeth to me my lord, the present life of men here on earth...
as if a sparrow should come to the house and very swiftly flit through;
which entereth in at one window and straightway passeth out through another,
while you sit at dinner with your captains and servants in winter-time;
the parlour being then made warm with the fire kindled in the midst thereof,
but all places abroad being troubled with raging tempests of winter rain and snow.
right for the time it be within the house, it feeleth no smart of the winter storm,
but after a very short space of fair weather that lasteth but for a moment,
it soon passeth again from winter to winter and escapeth your sight.
so the life of man here appeareth for a little season,
but what followeth or what hath gone before, that surely know we not.
wherefore if this new learning hath brought us any better surety,
methink it is worthy to be followed.

how do you like that i got the italics to work...

Blake said...

I played in the graveyard
When I was just a boy
I'd run among the headstones
Myself I would enjoy
But I was young and hardly knew
What would happen then

I played in the graveyard
And I'll be back again

Ruth Anne Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Will Conway said...