Day 498: Life, death, etc.

I like today’s post title:  Life, death, etc.  Why?  Because it covers EVERYTHING, and I enjoy looking at the “big picture.”

Also, since I was young, I’ve known how awareness of mortality can help someone

  • be more in the moment
  • appreciate every little thing
  • set priorities
  • overcome obstacles
  • be authentic
  • develop values and be true to them
  • let go of fear and other “baggage”
  • get clarity
  • learn
  • grow, and
  • feel joy.

Of course, awareness of mortality can also help someone

  • freak out and
  • get paralyzed

… but, like everything else, those things pass.

All in all, I am quite grateful for “the gift of mortality.”

Why this title, today? I thought of it yesterday, while visiting one of my favorite places: Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

According to Wikipedia, Mount Auburn Cemetery was

founded in 1831 as “America’s first garden cemetery”


is credited as the beginning of the American public parks and gardens movement.

Here’s what I saw, yesterday, at Mt. Auburn Cemetery:

































One of the last things I noticed, before I left Mt. Auburn Cemetery yesterday, was this bench:


Many years ago, when both my parents were still alive, I lived in an apartment very close by.  I remember sitting on the same bench, back then — reading, sunning, dreaming, feeling, thinking, etc.

Here are two views from that bench, yesterday:




I love Mount Auburn Cemetery.

Today, I hope I was able to show you why.

I shall now ask myself a familiar question: Does this post feel complete?

It MUST be complete.  Didn’t I say, in my introduction, that the title had EVERYTHING?  And look at everything we covered, here!

However, I did leave out a lot of history, details, etc. about Mt. Auburn Cemetery. And many of my readers have told me that they don’t click on links within posts. So here’s one important fact, from that same Wikipedia page:

Mount Auburn’s collection of over 5,500 trees includes nearly 700 species and varieties.

Wow!  Imagine all the trees  I did NOT show you.  Well, as I  recover from recent physical ailments,  taking shorter walks than I usually do … I did the best I could.

One final Wikipedia fact about Mt. Auburn Cemetery:

The area is well known for its beautiful environs and is a favorite location for bird-watchers.

Hmmm. I didn’t see any bird-watchers, yesterday.   I’m sure they were there; I just didn’t notice them.

I know!  Let’s end this post with bird-watchers, in the here and now:




Thanks to trees, flowers, people, benches, birds, cats, etc.  And thanks to you — of course! — for visiting today.

Categories: inspiration, Nostalgia, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

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44 thoughts on “Day 498: Life, death, etc.

  1. I think I have come up with my favorite sub-headline for your fabulous photo essay of the flowering spring at Mount Auburn Cemetery, Ann.

    Beauty at Rest.

    I hope you and your bird watchers have a fruitful day.

    • Dear Mark,

      Thank you for the sub-headline. It’s my favorite, too!

      I am going to go eat some fruit now.

      Your friend,

  2. I recall my one and only trip there in the late 1980’s. It was beautiful and still have the picture I took of E Power Biggs’ headstone displayed on my office wall. Lots of famous people buried there. Thanks for the reminder.

    • You are welcome! I’m so glad you visited back then and enjoyed it. Who knows? I might have been there that day, too. And, many thanks for including another very important fact about Mt. Auburn Cemetery.

  3. I’m not sure why cemeteries are so appealing. I could walk around in them for hours, taking pictures of the headstones, monuments. Reading the epitaphs are comforting and ignites wonder about the deceased’s past. The same appeal — that I have — goes for doors, churches, and stairs. It’s one of those things that makes us individuals.

    Wonderful pictures, Ann.

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  5. yeseventhistoowillpass

    It’s always peaceful in any cemetery.. What is that about?

  6. Good morning, Ann. Lovely post. I enjoyed it. Love, Amy

  7. A great post Ann and wonderful photos too. Your beautiful cat did take all my attention, when I passed that photo.

  8. What a serenely beautiful place the cemetery is. Your photos do it justice, Ann.

  9. I lived in Cambridge–actually, Somerville–in grad school and visited that cemetery a few times. It really is lovely, in any season. Here in Staunton VA there’s a cemetery right down the road from me called Thornrose. It was designed by the local architect T J Collins and has that same great feeling of time and timelessness to it–and a great variety of trees, birds, deer, and even a fox or two if you are there at the right time. Glad you got a good walk! And that bench must have so much resonance for you. It’s cool that you can sit there now and feel it.

  10. Hi Ann! I’ve been busy with end of the semester grading, so I haven’t been able read too many blogs. Hope your recovery is going well!

    I agree that mortality, or the knowledge that we will cease to exist does make us appreciate existence more. I often find that people who subscribe to religions that promise an eternal after life seem to appreciate existence less in favor of a blissful after-life. So I am not always so sure that the paralyzing fear necessarily goes away, but rather we might find a convenient work-around. 🙂 I would say that it is certainly better than being paralyzed with fear of your mortality, but if it also takes away from you appreciate the one existence that we do know about…perhaps an even better solution should be found. But that is just my opinion.

    While I do not fear death, I do find it pretty annoying. While I am happy to be mortal, I would rather be much longer lived than what I will end up being. I would rather live until I simply didn’t feel like doing it anymore and then just pack it in. 🙂 Does that sound strange?

    • Hey! I’ve been wondering where you’ve been. Nothing you wrote sounds strange; quite the opposite.

      And thank you for providing another excellent reason for why I get annoyed.

  11. I love graveyards – so peaceful, and such beautiful things grow there – life and death coexisting harmoniously.

  12. I love Swarn Gill’s comment in a previous post: “While I do not fear death, I do find it pretty annoying.” There’s a novel in that.

    Thank you for taking us along with you on your walk. When I was a kid, I used to play in a Catholic cemetery in Montreal. It was the only place in the neighbourhood with trees and a pond, but I also loved the headstones and their inscriptions. It wasn’t as old or as interesting as the one you took us to, but it was green and serene and there were hedges of mortality everywhere.

    You live in a fascinating place with lots of history.

    • Great to see you. It’s always more fascinating where I live, when you drop by. And I love Swarn Gill’s comment, too!

  13. I think that we used to have a better acceptance of the peace of death and that is why we built such lovely places. Arlington National Cemetery has some of the most beautiful trees and gardens I’ve ever seen. I have also visited Mt Auburn. It is a lovely place to spend eternity if you ask me.

  14. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

  15. Your cats look very relaxed. I hope that means that you are, too!

    • Hi! Thanks for dropping by. I’m about as relaxed as the cats are, I think. (That is: sometimes yes, sometimes not.)

  16. Once I honestly accepted my own mortality, living became important

  17. I love the beauty of the rebirth of spring alongside the respect to lives passed. Lovely post Ann…. and the bird watchers gave a new dimension to it all that made me smile 🙂

  18. I love the combination of quiet stones and blooming, growing trees. Exactly this time last year we were in Chicago and visited the Graceland Cemetery, which is full of trees too.

    • Thanks for telling us about the visit to the Graceland Cemetery last year, Hilary. And many thanks for the visit here.

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