My parents are buried in a small rundown cemetery on the top of a hill in Wheeling, West Virginia. It’s not far from where I grew up, but it isn’t exactly around the corner from New hampshire, so I don’t get back there a lot.
When I do, there are two things that always happen – I have long tearful conversations with them, take stock of where I’ve been, where I’m at and where I’m heading. I suspect a therapist would have a field day if these conversations were recorded … thankfully they stay at the cemetery. I spend a bunch of time talking to two people who I never got to know as well as I should have, two people who if they ever got me never let on ( while they were alive), two people who I fought with as I struggled to create my own identity. They were staunch Nixon Republicans – I was a screaming liberal who cheered with all my soul when Nixon resigned. OK, I’m still that liberal, just toned down ever so slightly.
I always leave the cemetery feeling drained, empty and pretty lonely.
The next stop – only a very short walk away – is this structure, not sure what it is or was, but it’s the local outlet for public art.
I don’t know whether it’s the art aficionado in me, the rebel who still says “Break the rules” or what, but I absolutely love graffiti.
It is an unappreciated art form, another way to hate on teenagers, and it just plain makes some things really beautiful. So this is where I go after those conversations with the dead. It helps me calm, exorcise the stirred up demons from the cemetery, and pay tribute to an unknown band of artists who deserve ovations instead of curses.
How did I get here? I was going through photos on a harddrive and came across some of the photos I’ve done there – it warmed my soul on a bitter cold day in New England – hope it warms yours as well.
As always, comments welcomed!