January 5, 2016
I spent the afternoon walking through Cypress Hills cemetery in Brooklyn and only took this glaringly poor photograph of a not-so-artistic section of the cemetery and directly into the sun because… well, probably nobody else ever has or ever will.
There are signs at the cemetery entrance barring photography, citing that it is “a place of spiritual peace and reflection.” Well, OK, but that sign was ordered, designed, printed, and mounted by the living! Just under that was another sign promising swift prosecution (persecution?) of anyone found to be in violation of their definition of trespass, so I had to be a little bit careful.
As I walked through this massive cemetery that dates back to at least the 1700s, I would be willing to bet my left arm that many of the residents of this community would love few things more than to have their name and legacies remembered, depicted, and discussed.
I understand the quality of this picture is pretty poor, but I was compelled to take it. Look at these gorgeous personal mausoleums. They are edifices to family and underscore achievements made during a life that ended with successfully living the American Dream. …And here they are scattered about haphazardly along the dark side of the hill in this cemetery. There is something beautiful, and sad about all this. What is beautiful is that the inhabitants are all members of a new neighborhood. Do you think they know any of their neighbors? Maybe about as well as many of us know our neighbors in our own neighborhoods while we are alive, I would bet.
We are in this together- even in the end we are still brought together. We might as well be neighborly towards each other while we are on the living side of the fence, because I suppose we just can’t know who we will share the grounds with later on.
It sure turned out to be a different sort of day than what I envisioned when I woke up.