For whatever reason, I often find myself wandering around old cemeteries. Part of this is surely the natural beauty abounding in older cemeteries—parklike, with an abundance of trees and often plantings left alone by decades of caretakers, there’s something soothing about them. Of course, they’re graveyards of any sort are a reminder that death is never far from any of us, though having narrowly escaped it four times already, I’m very much aware of the fact that mine could end without warning. It certainly keeps one humble, but also considerate of each day’s fleeting value. Hominem te esse memento! Memento mori!
That aside, of course, again: Older cemeteries are lovely places, and the age of the graves—the distance separating we the living from the dead whose graves we see—gives rise to a real sense of wonderment about the lives represented by each headstone, about the history seen by these people. Not only are they great places to think, they encourage thinking by their very nature—history, death, life, beauty, calm. Modern-day cemeteries tend to be sterile places without even a place to rest—a vast, sterile expanse of markers and death with no beauty or natural shelter to remind us of life, deliciously bittersweet life enjoyed by the dead as well as ourselves—but the older sort have much to recommend themselves.
Today I’m sharing with you photos from such a cemetery—Binkley-Ridge Cemetery, or just Ridge Cemetery (I’m not quite certain, two names continue popping up). It and its inhabitants rest on a hillock in Perry County here in Central Ohio, surrounded mostly by woods with a scattering of small homes. Of course I take photos in the cemeteries; they’re beautiful, yes, but as anyone who frequents them knows, time is wiping away the information about those inside. These are fellow-travellers, though we’ve never met them; it seems important to me to preserve this information, especially as one never knows who will be thrilled to find information about an ancestor online!
Though no one has been buried here in some decades, it is still well-maintained—and there’s even a mystery monument I hope someone can help me understand.