Happy Memorial day! Wait, do people even say that? I mean, it can be a happy day, I guess. Most people have off from work and there may be some awesome BBQs going on. However, the real reason for the day is a bit more somber as we take the time to remember those who have gone before us, especially those who served in our armed forces.
I recently visited The Historic Columbia Cemetery here in N Portland. It is an amazing juxtaposition of the quiet of death, and the loud cacophony of life as traffic races by on N Columbia Blvd and I-5. Of the old history of pioneer graves and the newer trappings of modern day commerce.
From the Cemetery website:
Since 1857, the Historic Columbian Cemetery has been a part of the North Portland community. It is located on a patch of land that falls within the Interstate Cultural Boundary and underneath the I-5 overpass at 1151 N. Columbia Blvd. The cemetery is adjacent to the Kenton Neighborhood area but its historical connections resonate throughout the North and Northeast Portland area. Within its six acre site, Columbian Cemetery is home to between five to six thousand deceased Portlanders. Among them are well-known figures, but beyond these individuals, you will find people from diverse class levels and ethnic groups. The broad range of people buried in the Columbian reflects the sundry spirit and rich history of nineteenth and twentieth-century Portland.
It's a very cool place to walk. One sort of strange thing that I like to do when I visit an old cemetery is to quietly read aloud the names on the stones. Think about how many times your own name is spoken in daily life. Your name is as alive as you are. It's on one's mail, documents, and people say it all the time. It helps people define you. A name sort of dies with you when you go. If you are lucky, people will remember you and speak your name for years to come. Oh, yes, if you accomplish something amazing, like Abe Lincoln or Leonardo Da Vinci, your name will live on forever. But for most, as the years go by, and the people who knew you best also pass away, your name may not be spoken anymore. As I walk through a cemetery with graves as old as the ones in Columbia cemetery I ponder "when was the last time someone spoke this name out loud?" So I read the names and speak them softly, giving them a fleeting life again in this world.
I took a ton of pics during my walk...here are some of them.
Mundane musings from a modern Mnemosyne