10.27.2012

An Autumnal Walk Through the Graves

One of my favorite things to do year-round, but especially autumn, is to take a leisurely walk through an old New England graveyard. And one of my favorite nearby towns to visit is Concord, Massachusetts. The town that was made famous by the likes of Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Nathanial Hawthorne just oozes with literary genius, enlightened thought, and history. So, to combine one of my favorite towns and an old graveyard on a stunning fall day is just pure perfection.


Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord is where all of the above mentioned notables are buried, but that is not the cemetery I visited on this outing. That is a beautiful cemetery, however, this time I went to one that is much older and one that was surround by trees in their full seasonal beauty and glory - the South Burying Ground.



South Burying Ground is located right on Main Street in Concord and the oldest stone dates back to 1697.  Downtown Concord is one of the quaintest and lovely downtown centers I have ever had the pleasure to walk.  If you happen to be on Main Street, patronizing one of the sweet, little shops, or taking in all the history of this town steeped in Revolutionary War events and battles, this modest little graveyard is worth a visit.


We were on our way to hike around Walden Pond when we stopped here to visit those resting in peace, or not resting in peace, whichever the case my be. This is the season when spirits are meant to walk the earth, after all.

A soul effigy

A classic and very New England "Memento Mori" gravestone

Adam being buried alive, though admittedly only up to his calves and only by leaves.


Legend has it that this graveyard was created for those who lived on the southside of town because of a folk belief that a corpse being taken for burial should not be carried across a stream of running water for fear it would wash the soul away, forever lost. Before this graveyard, they would have had to cross the mill pond dam in order to bury their dead at the Old Hill Burying Ground. No one knows if this legend is true or not, but as J.R.R. Tolkien once said, "I believe that legends and myth are largely made of truth." Besides, superstition and folklore are the stuff that autumn is made for. Who doesn't love to hear a good ghost story or old world superstitions, and hope it's all true, at this time of year?

9 comments:

  1. Wow, what a stunning place. I love these old cemeteries you explore!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Magical. Yes, I do think old graveyards can be magical. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Heather - it really is! These cemeteries here are amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm walking around Walden Pond tomorrow afternoon. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I LOVE Concord! It's one of my most favorite towns ever. Your pictures are awesome. I haven't been to that graveyard before. It looks like a really neat and beautiful one.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yes indeed a great place! The graveyards look awesome under your perspective Alyson! Good eye!

    ReplyDelete
  7. All really, really lovely... all that Autumn glory, and ancient stones. A lot to like here, food for thought, food for the eyes... food for dreams...

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a wonderful find your blog is. Raised in Connecticut, I have lived in midwest for longer than I thought I would. Cemeteries have always been a place I liked to spend time in too. but oh I miss New England! will look forward to visiting your bloghome.

    ReplyDelete