Monday, February 20, 2012

The Mausoleum on the Hill

 Earlier in January, I ended up one Saturday in a section of Forest Lawn I'm not often in. Near one of the cemetery's lakes, there is a section filled with large, more modern mausoleums and statues-- some of which I have photographed before. Behind a row of medium sized mausoleums is a growth of trees and a riverbank, which leads to one of the quieter parts of the creek inside the cemetery. The spot is a safe little place ideal for quiet, thinking, calm.

 But I had never noticed what you can see there, up at the top of the hill on the opposite side of the area. One would think I hadn't noticed the mausoleum at the top before because of the heavy trees which, with their leaves, must surround and shroud the hill during the spring, summer and fall months.

 The mausoleum stood at the top of the hill, imposing. As I started to climb up the hill it stands on, I realized I'd never been up there before. And I'd picked the perfect day to start. The photos don't show how steep the hill actually is, I believe, and how difficult it was to climb through a fresh inch of snow up to the top. A newer section of the cemetery, most of the stones along the way were new, fresh and modern-- and contrasted with what lay at the top.

 Up close, the mausoleum is even larger than I'd expected. Though several random, separate markers populate the hill at the top, none appear connected to the mausoleum which bears no name. The Greek symbols/lettering for the Alpha and the Omega decorate the piece above the door-- and that is all. I searched for a name plate, a marker or something bearing a name, to no avail. Barring the slight possibility that something lays on the ground around the structure, the monument appears to be nameless. Once again, as so often within the cemetery, I was wondering. "Who were you?" 

 From the mausoleum, you are able to see much of this area of the cemetery. All of the section around the lake is visible-- and across the creek, to the first of the older sections of the cemetery, such as the one where the Pratt Monument lies. Behind the mausoleum, there is another steep hill down to the creek, with the cemetery's chapel directly on the other side.

 At the top you hear everything. All the sounds of the cemetery. The creek running around you, completely, surrounding you. The ducks and the geese from by the bridge. The wind in the trees. The silence of being in the middle of the vast cemetery. On this hill with what likely is the largest mausoleum in Forest Lawn, the mausoleum without a name.

You may view my photo album of the Hill here:

Forest Lawn, Hill, January 15, 2012

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Almost a year ago, one of my Forrest Lawn postings was about the famous Forrest Lawn buck, and his guarding of a goose and her goslings, while they incubated and hatched. The story of nature's simple beauty and dignity was often included on local news reports, and Forrest Lawn went so far as to install a 24 webcam for people to watch the mother goose and her deer protector.

 The buck has lived in the cemetery for the last few years, and he is absolutely one lucky deer, to have found the cemetery, and live within its enclosed, protective gates. The first time I met him, I instantly could sense his gentle spirit; unafraid of humans, though cautious, and eminently curious. While many different people have begun calling him many different things, I named him "Felix" after the author of the "Bambi" novel (in an attempt to be, somewhat, original.) 

 I've come to better know Felix on my runs and photo taking in the cemetery. Two weeks ago, with a fresh coat of snow over the cemetery, I found Felix by one of the cemetery's main gates and, coincidentally, a monument with a statue of a buck-- and it just so happened I had my camera.  

These are the results. He stayed still-- and not, it seemed, out of fear-- he seemed more curious in exactly what my camera was, and did not mind having the lens zoom in and out and so close to him. While photographs of a deer in the cemetery aren't exactly related to Halloween, Felix is a large part of what makes historic, majestic and fascinating Forrest Lawn the place that it is. I hope you'll indulge me. 

You may view my photo album here: