It’s starting to get colder out. It seems as though Katie got snow, and I believe we got our first frost here. Yesterday I stripped all the tomato plants of their green tomatoes, and gave the flowering ends odd looks, and brought in all the summering indoor plants plants. It is definitely fall here now, and next week Hallowe’en. So in honour of the holiday of candy, the season of bright leaves and cool breezes, we will explore graveyards!
First up, the historic Highgate Cemetery in London, England. This oozes a historical Victorian-Gothic-garden look and feel and I would love to visit this place. The cemetery was built in 1839 to help deal with the rising death rates coinciding with the growing population pushing past 1 million. The cemetery overlooks the city and quickly became fashionable. Notable residents include George Eliot and Karl Marx.
Another gorgeous, sad and slightly disheveled, photo here.
Highgate’s landscape is full of gothic buildings and monuments, filled with trees and wildflowers and shrubs, which grow without human interferences. As a result it is rich with wildlife, including birds and small animals. Its popular history includes an alleged resident, the Highgate Vampire, who haunted the cemetery in the 1970s.
Next up, the Natural Burial Movement. Has anyone else heard of the Natural Burial movement? It seems to be a newer trend, where bodies are buried free from embalming fluid, in simple plain pine (or biodegradable) caskets. The area surrounded the cemetery is naturally vegetated (surrounded by trees or meadow), necessitating minimal maintenance. I did see one link to DIY caskets that can be used as bookshelves during the interim, but I won’t be building one of those.
I personally find embalmed bodies upsetting on the viewing level. While It reinforces that a loved one is passed, it looks unnatural, which seems to upset me even more in what is already a fragile environment. I like the idea of a natural burial and a more wild garden like surroundings, but I also like the old look of tombstones.
What are your thoughts on old Victorian/Gothic cemeteries, or more current burial trends? Does anyone else want to visit Highgate Cemetery with me, and maybe afterward the catacombs in Paris? I promise we can hit a wine bar or two… or three?