Monday, May 26, 2014

A Shameful Thing.....

I noticed a post from a very good friend of mine named Cindy on Facebook recently referring to the fact that her and her daughter went to a forgotten cemetery and "payed it forward'. They weren't related to anyone in this particualr cemetery but felt that human urge to be kind simply for kindness sake. They spent a good part of a sunny day tending to long forgotten graves, time-ignored trinkets that had been so thoughtfully placed so long ago and pulling overgrown weeds obscuring those long-forgotten ancestors.

Our forefathers, struggling to feed the ever growing brood our foremothers bore, now lay forgotten. Their headstones toppled from weathering and hidden from sight and mind by azalea wild and rhodora. The women and children who are memorialized by the mere fact of our presence are peacefully resting under the tread of doe, moose and the heavy-footed bear. Their lives entering like a snap shot to us, but sadly exiting with the next shutter, not to be remembered until prod.

It may be because of our increasingly assiduous lives which has us rowing down the river of lethean. Understood.

Maybe it is because our antecendent series of daily tasks has us choosing our considerations. Understood.

To remind ourselves that in a few generations, our essence will be as short-lived as that of a lilac, fresh and lively but for a short period, not to be enjoyed or remembered until awakened through purpose. Understood.

Solace and contentment, to me is remembering those of whom I sprouted and those whose lineage have long moved on. Serenity whirls about when I take that phusical walk to their charnel and that imperceptible stroll through a time when they endured. The fright they must have felt when a child was sick and only the hope of the hyssop could help. Or the contentment obvious when the children chased each other, giggling when caught or screaming when jumped. The smell of a great pot of beans, tinged with the rendering fat nestled within, wafts in this world of mine when I take my erstwhile journey.

I am proud to have found my family cemetery from many generations ago. This, too, has been long neglected and forgotten. My Dad and I took a few days to find it before he passed on and these are the pictures I took when I visited a month ago. This is one of the oldest cemeteries in New England but is not recognized as such simply because it is forgotten. There are many first, second and third generation  settlers buried here at Sawyer Hill Cemetery and I am proud to say that Mr. Isaac Bailey Sr. and Jr., Deacon Edmund Bailey and each of his three wives and many other Baileys are resting next to the Coffin family, who are nestled with the Frosts of old and the ancient Poore family.
My great, great, great, great, great grandfather Deacon Edmund lost his first two wives along with all his children from both marriages from a throat distemper of the 1730s in Newburyport, Massachusetts. They are all buried here.

I feel solace and comfort knowing that I have not neglected this cemetery and my family buried within. Nor have I neglected my family on Bailey Hill in Topsfield and Baileyville, Maine. I may not be able to physically visit each cemetery or grave as often as I wish but there truly isn't day that I don't think about my progenitors... because a neglected life is a shameful thing!




Anonymous said...

We buried my grandfather, Louis Colby, in this cemetery 2 years ago. He lived 1/4 mile up the road. Many of my ancestors have been buried here for the last 300 years. It may be a forgotten cemetery, but I think it is one of the most beautiful and serene I have seen. I live a long way from there and may never make it back to see it again, glad you got to.

The Yankee Chef said...

I agree, very VERY serene cemetery. And I am glad it is mostly forgotten, at least it stays in decent shape from vandals because it is "out of sight, out of mind'.