A Cemetery Stroll

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© Sharon Brown Christopher

In September, a photo friend and I found our way to the old ghost town of Virginia City, Nevada. It was the cemetery, a space removed from the press and noise of tourists that wandered Main Street, that caught my imagination. As I wandered the grounds of eleven contiguous cemeteries named the Silver Terrace Cemeteries, I learned these things about this place of final rest for those who had settled on this hillside in the mid-1800’s:

The earliest cemeteries were haphazard unplanned affairs that are an expression of ideology and belief, just as much as a socially infused representation of material culture.

What is seen today is a powerful tool in the West’s collective memory and a reflection of the population’s sense of place.

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© Sharon Brown Christopher

I came across several tombs of infants.

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© Sharon Brown Christopher

I wondered about the decisions relating to fencing. Who got in and who was left outside just beyond the enclosed family plot?

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© Sharon Brown Christopher

Who was assigned spots at the perimeter of the cemetery?

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© Sharon Brown Christopher

I noticed the juxtaposition of this old cemetery and the growing edge of the new growth in Virginia City.

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© Sharon Brown Christopher

There were signs here and there of meaningful religious traditions.

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© Sharon Brown Christopher

The stroll piqued my curiosity and left me with many unanswered questions. I can still feel the rustle of the cool breeze as it brushed my cheeks in my silent walk through sacred space.

Contributed by Sharon Brown Christopher

© Sharon Brown Christopher/All rights reserved

 

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