I am always amazed at how quickly the time has passed each week when Photo Friday rolls around, . I have this conversation in my head each time about how didn’t I just do this? And how did it get to be time already? It feels like the time is just racing by, and before I know it summer will be over, which makes it appropriate that this week for Photo Friday I bring you images from a cemetery. (See what I did there? I’m not too clever so I crack myself up sometimes)
Last week when I brought you sunrise photos from Virginia City, I didn’t tell you the whole truth of my relationship with the Comstock. I’ve been there many, many times. While not quite duress, most of those trips were part of a marathon field trip with seventh grade students. We’d leave school shortly after 8:00 in the morning and wouldn’t return until after 4:00…or later. The ensuing hours were spent racing around the town with students – stopping at first one location and then another. I haven’t been on one of those field trips since 2003, so my memory is a bit foggy. I seem to recall that each location we only had maybe 10-15 minutes before we were barreling up or down another hill to another site.
Our longest stop of the day was always the last stop – which was the cemetery. I have to confess: I have a thing for cemeteries. I always have. I loved that we had enough time to actually explore the place. I’m not sure how much the students appreciated the stop because by that time, they were either high on the sugar they were allowed to purchase at the candy shops in town or they were as hot and tired as the chaperones were.
One of the activities that we asked our students to do while in the cemetery was to complete a grave rubbing. We wanted them to find a grave that spoke to them – whether because they were moved by the circumstances of the person’s death or because they felt like there was an connection due to heritage – and make a rubbing of the important details. Looking back on that activity now, I don’t think I would have students do that now. As I’ve grown as an educator, I have begun to question the activities that I use in the classroom. What truly is the purpose of it? What is the take-away that I want students to have? I’m not sure what a grave rubbing teaches a student.
Whether I would have students do a grave rubbing or not is really a moot point these days. Time and neglect have badly damaged the cemeteries. Many of the graves are incredibly fragile, and there are signs throughout the cemetery with lists of dos and don’ts. One of the don’ts happens to be grave rubbings.
The amount of damage done by vandals is one of the great tragedies of the cemeteries. Cast and wrought iron fencing used to fill the cemeteries, some of it incredibly beautiful and valuable. Over the years the cemeteries have been looted. Many grave sites were decimated and desecrated in the process of conducting the theft, .
I seem to recall the cemeteries being bigger those years when I riding herd on hundreds of children. There were more graves, further to walk, and the hills were bigger. At least that’s how I remember it. It’s entirely possible that as I grow older, my memory isn’t as good. It is also entirely possible that the years have done even more damage to the place.
The cemeteries were at one point in time a sight to behold according to all accounts. Roses and other blooming plants filled the plots, and there were rows of weeping willows lining the roads. None of that sounds like the greatest idea in the high desert climate that is Northern Nevada. The wind blows constantly, the summer sun is unrelenting, water is in short supply, and the winters are harsh. As the fortunes of the area declined, there was no one to do the amount of work necessary to maintain such an unnatural habitat. The Exempt Firefighter’s Cemetery is still landscaped and lush with roses and other plants blooming, but I did note an irrigation system there.
I have more Virginia City photos to share with you. I will be sharing the last of them this weekend for my monthly 10 on 10 post, so make sure you check back not only to see those photos but to take a look at what our fellow photographers have shared in the Photo Friday link-up!
Do you have fond memories of field trips? Or have you returned to a place only to find it diminished? Let’s talk about it in the comments!
On another, political note, here in the Untied States we are roiling with the deaths of black men at the hands of police. We have had two videotaped deaths in the last 36 – 48 hours, and it is heartbreaking. There is a great deal I want to say about it, but I cannot yet find the words. So I offer photos of graves as I mourn.
(I edited all of these photos in two different ways. I can’t decide whether I prefer the more grainy/sepia tones or the strict black and white. I actually have most of the photos saved with both edits.)
Welcome to another edition of the Photo Friday link-up! I’m so excited to see what you have for us this week!
Our most viewed link during the past week came from Photos by Birgitta B who took us to the woods to cool off during this hot summer.
Our final link came from Patrick at Adventures in Weseland who shared images from a Japan Day celebration. As always, if you missed some of the images added after you linked-up, check out some of the fantastic images shared throughout the weekend.
Great job of supporting each other last week! Please make sure to visit at least two other posts and only link-up to your specific blog posts – not your entire blog.
Without further ado – it’s time for this week’s link-up!