St. Clair Cemetery

We’ve had some really beautiful weather this fall–unlike the past few years where the trees have barely changed. Typically we have very wet summers in my corner of the world, at least for the past 6 or 8 years, creating less than stunning tree foliage in the fall. However, this summer was (among a plethora of other things) extremely hot and dry. We went weeks without a hint of rain. Terrible for grass and parts of my garden, but wow does it create a spectacular autumn leaf show. Trees started to change at the end of September and some are still colorful with their leaves slowly falling. Couple that with some warm, bright days, and it’s the perfect excuse to get out and about.

I visited this cemetery at the end of October just as the sun was entering its golden hour in the evening. This place is also where I spent a lot of never-ending summers as a child, (my house was down the street) playing with friends and creating the memories I hold dear today. In addition, it’s across the street from the parochial school that I attended until high school, where I remember gazing out the classroom windows and admiring the trees as they changed with the seasons. It’s an older cemetery, with graves that date back to the later 1700s. And many stones have simply been standing so long, you can no longer read their inscriptions. I’m unsure if it is still used currently, although I do remember people still being interred as late as the 1980s–I did not see any more recent graves. I’d like to leave my words out of this, and just offer some of the images I caught–I hope their peacefulness comes through.

The sky was just so blue, and the leaves dry and crunchy, if there wasn’t a busy road close by, all you could hear was the breeze and my footsteps. I love the way those 4 stones line up in a row, like sentinels. And the obelisk you can see from far away…

Quintessential (guardian) cemetery tree. Bonus: the sun peaking through the obelisk monument.

The tombstone on the left actually has an open “window” portion creating a hollow cavity. I’m not sure why I didn’t snap of picture of that. It wasn’t broken stone, maybe it was a glass window at some point? Regardless, this is a marker for two members of the family, one who was 3 and one who was 17.

One of my favorite pieces– the black stone is stunning, as is the shape. This one was a family plot marker, with smaller stones surrounding it for each family member. Bonus: the moon peaking out!

I love the tree at the top of the stone on the left, for a 5 year old boy. I’ve seen a lot of tree motifs on 19th century tombstones–perhaps reference to the tree of life? Also, the humble marker of a Civil War artillery vet who survived the war. The tomb on the right is for 3 bothers–all killed unexpectedly and too soon. One in a mine explosion and two in railroad accidents. It’s hard to not feel the grief, even after so much time has passed.

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