The epitaphs on old gravestones can be fascinating to read, especially if you can find those from the 17th, 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. They tell the stories of those lives now resting there. They help to bring the past into the present. There are lessons to be learned…
Life moves on so swiftly, we are born, live and die. Seasons come and seasons go…those things we treasured and held dear are in time left behind and over-grown and crowded out by new things, new ventures; only faith and hope will last as treasure becomes rubble, all the stuff of life, things we held dear in the past in the end become so much trash, the gold, the silver, wealth, fame, prestige, all our talents we so often waste in the name of material gain.
Some time ago I stumbled upon an old family burying ground. I suspected it might be in the area but didn’t really know where to look. I saw it on the hill top where once a home, a family farm had stood, abandoned ages ago to the seasons, the buildings lay in ruin and the land is now overtaken by the woods.
I walked around for awhile and I imagined what it used to be when a family lived here and what their life here might have been like, wondered about how they lived, just who they were, the work they did, their beliefs, those times and moments they held dear. How many generations had farmed this land? It had obviously once been a farm.
Some family once had lived here but no one lives here now. I imagine a husband, a wife and children, probably two or three dogs, a cat, a flock of chickens, sheep and cows and probably a couple goats…I imagined that they dried their clothes out on a line, no electric dryers in their time and probably hauled water from a spring or well.
I imagined children playing and dreaming their dreams beneath that big old oak on an old tree swing near what probably was a front porch ; or maybe they were playing tag or hide and go seek. I pictured a happy family in my mind. I wondered if maybe it was part of mine, some distant kin. They used to live here in this area in post-revolutionary times until after the American Civil War. Some were now buried in the village cemetery and others were buried in family plots near their home, on the property they owned.
I imagined there’s wood to cut and split and stack and lots of gardening to be done, the animals to care for, fields to plow, plant and harvest, haying to be done; and the children help with the chores, maybe go to school in the village I can see from the top of the hill or maybe they were home schooled back then. I’m fairly sure they must have gone to church. Most families did in those days.
Published in: Family