Over the years I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve strolled through a graveyard taking shots. From all the way back to strolling through Mount Olivet in Nashville with the Sisters of Mercy blasting on my headphones to wandering through Saint Louis Number One in New Orleans. If Denver has a shortcoming, it’s that it is not old enough to have an really interesting grave yard.
It’s the season of grave yards. All Hallows Eve. Although, in my neighborhood, if I want to go to the nearest spot people are buried in, I don’t go to a grave yard, I walk Cheeseman Park. Every time they repair the sprinklers, they find more bodies in that place. It was originally a graveyard before it became a park, and the people hired to remove the bodies didn’t. They just pocketed the money and left most of the graves in place after removing the markers. There’s a rumor some of the bodies were just moved under the marble band stand, but I don’t know if that is true.
I do love the small towns out in the mountains, though. Their graveyards have character. Some are still in use and a source of civic pride. They will be perfectly maintained and some even have large monuments like Cripple Creek. They have a Huey helicopter over the graves of the Vietnam War dead. Others are left in a state of benign neglect, like Central City.
I love the Central City graveyard. The roads are mostly gone, and there are just winding social paths through the aspen trees where gravestones jut from the ground at drunken angles, marking the random resting places of the dead. Nature is reclaiming the place and the buried souls within.
I don’t walk graveyards and take photos much anymore. I do like the peace of those places, offering quiet and isolation even among crowded cities. Maybe it’s because as I get older I realize I’ll be there permanently soon enough, and so the allure of my amateur taphology has waned as a result.
Still, it’s hard to resist a graveyard photo walk this time of year.
The season of the graveyard