Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friendly Witches and Scenic Graveyards

Was I a good witch or a bad witch for Halloween? Only Eustacia knows, and she is not talking. I rolled through the night with reflective sidewalls and plenty of lights on my bicycle, and I think only good witches do that. Bad ones tend to hide under the cover of darkness.

On this ghoulish night, I present you also with this photo of me and Marianne cycling through Provincetown Cemetery at dusk. I spent part of my childhood in a small New England town, where we lived down the street from a very old graveyard. Its presence seemed entirely normal; my friends and I would even take walks there after dark. Only later did I discover that graveyards freaked other people out. That and old Victorian houses with floorboards that creak even when no one is walking on them. Go figure!

18 comments:

  1. Our historic cemetery in Sacramento is one of the best places to ride in town. Gorgeous gardens, smooth paths that rise gently and slope, bend and curve whimsically and not a living in soul in sight most of the time.

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  2. I love cemeteries for a variety of reasons; they are a small slice of history, there for everyone to see. Interesting trends can be spotted amongst the gravestones in a cemetery.

    And when I rode transcontinental in 1977 they served as a safe place to camp ;-)

    Aaron

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  3. Old cemeteries are so very interesting. The Old Loyalist Cemetery in St John New Brunswick is a very interesting place. And like most cemeteries, the only thing you have to fear are the living who might also be there.

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  4. Good to see us four are on the same page : )
    When we lived in NH, the locals also used the cemeteries for XC skiing. That was an interesting site to get used to.

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  5. I look at witches a little different. Three relatives of mine were hung in Massachusetts as witches as a result of the Danvers trials. Only the innocent died so I only know about good witches. I agree entirely with Filigree about burial grounds. I particularly enjoy the Dallas cemetery downtown and the GAR cemetery near Snohomish, WA.

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  6. I enjoy graveyards in country towns and villages. They're sad rather than scary... the headstones tell so many life stories, and paint a picture of the town in days gone by. I love taking moody b&w photos in older cemeteries, or setting up the tripod on moonlit nights for long exposures of the headstones.

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  7. That's all a bit weird, isn't it? Am I the only one thinking that graveyard cycling/skiing/photographing is weird?

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  8. I grew up in New England cemeteries. My mother was a finalist for a Guggenheim fellowship a few times for her gravestone rubbings as an art form and we traveled all over looking for interesting gravestones. I have a few winged skulls from the old Salem cemetery witch trial days around the house, made before it was closed to such endeavors. In the 60s you could just walk right in and have at it. Somewhere around there's also a fragment rubbed from Rabbi Lev's (see the story of the golem) tomb in Prague. A couple minutes walk from my home is an old New Netherlands cemetery, but the Dutch made rather boring gravestones. An awful lot of them are for children under two years old.

    Whenever I just want to run some laps I generally go to a cemetery; and as Sox said, the only thing you have to fear there is the living.

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  9. 'tis a bit of a shame they do not allow cycling (even casual) in Mt. Auburn -- I would love to cruise around in there on such lovely Fall days such as we have had.

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  10. Steve A - I looked at your latest blog entry and now feel bad for my lighthearted treatment of witches. Hope no offense is taken.

    Astroluc - They don't?.. (Woops.)

    kfg - I don't even know where to begin. Any chance for a copy of the rubbing from Rabbi Lev's tomb?

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  11. Yeah, it is frowned upon; there are several signs posted near the entry that stipulate "no jogging" and "no cycling"... I can sort of see why they might not want to allow people to use it as a "gym", but to forbid it completely for people who want to use a bike to actually view and enjoy the grounds does seem extreme... but they have to draw a line somewhere and I suppose that that is the easiest way to define it.

    I don't know how much or how stringently they enforce it, but I have never tried as I don't care to run afoul of the "powers that be" there. ;)

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  12. Is Eustacia missing a light?!

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  13. The dynamo powered light is under the basket, and we installed an extra CatEye light on the right fork-end. Initially I installed too, but it was just too much and too clunky, so I removed the left one. Many bikes have a side-mounted light, so I didn't think it looked weird. Does it look wrong?

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  14. I keep telling Filigree her Pashley needs too but she thinks that too make one too many!

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  15. "Does it look wrong?"

    No! It certainly looks fine (great). But there was something really badass about the double lights. I'm not sure what.. maybe it reminded me of a locomotive or some other fierce double-headlighted machine that I was enamored with as a child.

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  16. Oh sure, make fun of the illiterate blogger!
    In the 1600s we learned how to write fonetikly.

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  17. It was cool with three lights, one on top and two on the bottom, like a locomotive indeed. The second lights needs to come back. We should have a public vote here.

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  18. Filigree: "Any chance for a copy of the rubbing from Rabbi Lev's tomb?"

    Once I relocate it I don't see why not. I'll warn that it's not of very good quality. First, the tomb itself is obviously well worn and second my mother hadn't expected to do any rubbing on that trip and had to rush out to find materials in Soviet era Czechoslovakia, which were of poor quality.

    Still it's an interesting and probably unique piece.

    She went back some years later (after that whole invasion thing had settled down a bit) packing her own materials, but by that point the cemetery had been closed to rubbing.

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