Sunday, May 22, 2005

maple hill cemetery tour

Last week, while I was waiting for a prescription to be filled, Luke and I went to Maple Hill Cemetery to snap a few shots. All of my photos from Maple Hill are here in a photoset on Flickr.

Also, for anyone interested, I discovered that the burial records of Maple Hill Cemetery are available online. A little information about Maple Hill: it's the oldest public cemetery in Alabama with burials dating back to 1818 when it was established; it is over 100 acres in size; there are between 80,000 and 100,000 burials in the cemetery; there are between 350 and 400 new burials each year.

It is one of the most beautiful and peaceful cemeteries I have ever visited, it is truly a memorial park. There are trees everywhere, and it is permitted to plant flowers and shrubs on the graves, or around the headstone, unlike many modern cemeteries which allow only flat plaques to make mowing easier. The City of Huntsville does an absolutely wonderful job maintaining the park-like setting, trimming around the trees and memorials, leaving the flowers planted by mourners to flourish. People will truly take strolls or jog through it, take their lunch-breaks there, or just sit and enjoy the scenery. It is a very peaceful place, somewhere I visit on a regular basis, to walk, sketch, or just reflect on life.

And yes, occasionally I have been wandering randomly through the cemetery and come across the grave of one of my patients. Usually I recognize the grave because it has a photo of the decedant. As an EMT, my patients aren't people, they're patients, which makes it much easier to work in conditions which would paralize the ordinary person. Finding the grave of a patient who died as a result of a wreck, makes the patient a person again, which breaks down the emotional separation which is needed to do the job.

If you are not from the area, and are ever in Huntsville, I suggest stopping by for a while.

One of the more unusual shaped headstones. I know of only one other triangular headstone in the entire cemetery.

An Egyptian pyramid as a memorial. An engraving of Isis, with wings outstretched in protection are on this side, and the opposite side.

The other engraving of Isis on the pyramid memorial, and the family name.

A cloth-draped urn on top of a pedastal about 6 feet tall, which is a popular motif in Maple Hill.

A stone with a cros made of nails

A Jewish headstone, detail of the Menorah, Star of David, and dogwood blossoms.

Another Jewish grave with the dates in the Hebrew calendar.
Conversion of the Hebrew dates to the Gregorian (western standard) calendar:
Mayer, 19 October 1926 - 21 June 1988
Joan C., 10 July 1933 - 15 November 1998

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