Friday, September 16, 2011

Fall comes to Forest Lawn Cemetery

 This past weekend, I visited Forest Lawn again. Unlike trips of the past, where my intentions consisted only of wandering the cemetery, walking among the stones and finding new monuments and areas to photograph, this visit had a more specific purpose.

 I was looking for my great-grandparents' grave. My mother mentioned this to me the week earlier, and I was, of course, absolutely interested on where these relatives of mine were in the great cemetery. I've visited Forest Lawn so many times, but I'd never gone with the intention of finding a specific grave site.

 And so I set out on Saturday afternoon with my partner. The people at the office were extremely helpful, looking the names up on what appeared to be a DOS based system, and then going to a very large, very old, very heavy and very informative bound book of maps of the cemetery's different sections. I did not know what to expect, or guess where they could be. The woman at the desk gave me directions on the larger map of the cemetery to the section they were in, and a blown up guide of the section, with varying, possibly larger stones and monuments marked, in the hope I could use them to find my way to where my grandparents were.

 On our way I came across some interesting items of note. Autumn had begun to shine in the cemetery. Early fallen leaves crowded some of the roadways, and these gorgeous few leaves had begun to burn a bright orange red near section D, where my relatives were.

 I hadn't expected it to take long, but it began to take longer than I felt it should have. I took about 10 minutes to realize I was looking at the section map from the wrong angle, and once figured out, another ten to realize where the graves marked on the map where. I made my way through what I thought was a direct line to where my relatives should be... And I found a tree. A large tree, which literally encompassed several stones. Markers laid in the ground, toward the base of the tree, were almost covered with age and earth, and two stones stood back, behind the leaves.

 Around the tree, several stones I had to feel to read, as time had worn so much of the inscriptions away, appeared to have circa 1800 dates, and I began to wonder if my great-grandparents were among these older, nameless graves.

I was walking to the front of the section when I spotted their names, and found them.  By their own tree, in this older section of the cemetery, with decidedly unique designs and structures to their stones. A rough, well preserved, coral-like boarder lines their stones, and I have to say I've never quite seen something like that before. Their urn had a wildly strong weed growing out of it, and at the base, had a green plant which easily may have been planted when the stones were made. I intend to go back and clean up the urn a bit, perhaps put a new, fall-hearty plant in there. I snapped dozens of photos of my great-grandparents stones, and also of the surrounding area. I'm always fascinated that there are so many areas of the cemetery I haven't been in, and the unique beauty that lies within.

 You may view my photo album of the trip here.

Forest Lawn, 09-10-11 (Start of Fall, Trietleys)

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