Monday, March 05, 2007

My Favorite

I'm guessing from the dearth of comments that people think that taking photos of cemetery stained glass is sort of, well, weird.

I am always struck by the beauty I find hidden away there. Those two mausoleum windows? The mausoleums are way at the bottom of the hill in a fairly new and seldom visited part of the cemetery, well off the beaten path from the usual circle where you encounter runners and other visitors. I almost never see anyone down there. And yet there they are, two little nondescript buildings with windows in the back, covered by shrubbey. You have to walk right up to the doors and peer past the darkened tombs to see the artistry tucked inside the far walls.

I've written about the stone above before but, in honor of Lent, I'll do it again. For a long time I thought the "Pax" meant "Peace" and that the marker had been placed on a little hillside as a personal gift to me for those days when the sun shines through it at a perfect angle. Then one day I saw some family members there and went over to talk with them. "Pax," it turns out, refers to Mrs. Pax, who was a stained glass artist and aficionado of bonsai trees. She made this piece herself during her final months, and her family incorporated it into her gravestone. Her husband and daughter were visibly pleased to learn that someone appreciates it so much that she makes it a point to take frequent walks along the road below the hillside.

Such care that people put into the artistry that memorializes their loved ones, so seldom appreciated by anyone else.

(My personal plan for this cemetery involves an angel, HUGE glass wings, a Celtic cross, and an Irish blessing. My ashes will be out in the ocean, in a lake, and on a mountain, but I want to leave a gift for the cemetery walkers.)


Presbyterian Gal said...

It's a gift you're making here. For the ones gone. For the ones who come to remember. If you're feeling an insistent tickle to keep this up, that's enough reason.

I think you should gather all this together. Pictures and text. Make a book. It'll publish. I put a fiver on it.

Kathryn said...

As you know, I love old cemeteries and stained glass. I could think of nothing to say about the pics other than beautiful which doesn't add much to the discussion.

I love imagining the stories but it is even more fun to learn the truth. Mrs. Pax was definitely an unexpected explanation.

Paul said...

Mrs. Pax? Sure someone's not pulling your leg?

Anonymous said...

Paul. It was a grieving family. Very nice people.


Cynthia said...

I've loved the photos, and today's story is wonderful.

Jodie said...

I keep wondering how it is that you live so close to such a cool cemetery.

Or maybe it is I who lacks the eyes to see? I agree with Presby Gal.

I heard a paradigm shifting talk by author John Fanestil. You would like his book I think:

'Mrs Hunter's Happy Death - Lessons on living from people preparing to die'.


Cuidado said...

I'm a stained glass artist so appreciate these posts.

Carol said...

I really liked today's photo as it reminds me a bit of a famous piece that exists at my alma mater called "Under the Oaks". And I, too, love old cemetaries. Sadly, there are none as glorious or beautiful in a safe neighborhood near me. our congregation's cemetary is quite a distance from my home but it has some beautiful work.

Magdalene6127 said...

I don't think they're wierd. i think they're beautiful. Thank you for sharing them.