October 29, 2015

Photo Essay: Passing Time at Mountain View Cemetery

Mountain View Cemetery started out as a family cemetery—a plot of land set aside in 1882 by Levi W. Giddings, where he could bury his family members.

And it's still kind of a family cemetery, run by descendants of Giddings.

But a lot more people than just Giddings family members are buried here now, in this expanse of green on Fair Oaks Avenue, in the hills above Pasadena.

After all, our planet's ground is crowded. We're running out of room to bury our dead.

Under these fallen fall leaves at Mountain View, there lie the remains (if any) of doctors, congressmen, pioneers and frontiersmen...

...Civil War officers, sportsmen (and women), Wallace Neff, Thaddeus Lowe...

...and even Superman himself, George Reeves.

These days, the famous graves at most cemeteries tend to eclipse those of beloved mothers, fathers, and babies who passed somewhat more anonymously.

It's nice to think at Mountain View, the cemetery isn't just a money-making business.

It feels a little less commercialized than you may find other, modern, franchise facilities.

Sure, Mountain View Cemetery has expanded over the years, acquiring both the Pasadena Mausoleum and the Mountain View Mausoleum...

...but it still feels small.

Each gravesite is well cared for... of vandalism...

...clearly marked...

...and surrounded by an arboretum of trees of palm, pine, oak, and eucalyptus.

It really felt like fall that October day, though the grass was green...

...and the air was warm...

...and bits of blue peeked out from behind the white puffy clouds.

There were fresh carnations strewn across statues' stone feet...

...and some of their petals were scattered around headstones, but it still felt like fall.

I knew it was fall, because I was losing light at only five o'clock.

I knew it was fall, because there was a chill behind that warm breeze...

...and the blades of grass were cool on my toes...

...and those end-of-year dark clouds started setting in.

And I felt in a hurry, with that fading light and those growing shadows, and the caretaker who swept the pathways and waited for my exit to lock the gate.

But I wasn't quite ready to leave yet. I wasn't ready to accept the close of the day or the end of yet another adventure, so I sat in the parking lot as the low angle of the sun briefly made it brighter and more golden than it had been before.

And in that golden hour, I saw the beauty of the changing seasons and the passage of time. I understood how sometimes things in life are most golden right before the end.

And when I finally left, I felt older than I had when I arrived.

Related Posts:
Photo Essay: Mountain View Mausoleum, Daytime
Photo Essay: Mountain View Mausoleum, Day into Night
Photo Essay: A Pilgrimage to the St. Francis Dam Victims' Final Resting Place (Closed to Public)
Photo Essay: The Birthplace of Santa Monica Canyon
Stepping Around Graves
Looking to The Other Side

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