Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Sunlight in the Cemetery...

On the eve of La Toussaint, my daughter and I walked through the local cemetery before the traditional sea of chrysanthemums is laid out on the graves of loved ones, now departed.

The bright sunlight, set against the shaded alleys and rows of tombs and monuments, the rambling greenery with trees and bushes and the calm of the surroundings all created a special atmosphere that was in no way morbid.

 In fact, I love cemeteries, with the understanding that 'the older, the better', and I could spend hours wandering around, looking at the art and inscriptions on each gravestone.

There seemed to be a number of symbolic hour-glasses, marking the passing of our time on Earth, watchful owls, peering out at us mortels, along with the more traditional forms.

Here in the champagne region, the grapes and vines may have an additional, more obvious significance other than that of the blood of Christ...

Some of the older, more imaginative tombs are just plain weird and seem rather at odds with 19th century morality, when 'modesty' was supposed to prevail.

An apparent lack of the usual religious allusions is occasionally paired up with an open sensuality that must have been pushing artistic licence to the limits. With its stumbling figure, and awkward angles, the above looks almost comic at a distance, yet in detail has its own beauty of expression.

It must certainly have titillated a considerable number of visitors when first set up on its sober tombstone!

Below is the form, of life-size dimensions, that would possibly fill me with fear if encountered on a dark night...

We were greeted by one of the feline guardians that prowl about the cemetery - a black cat, no less! Not bad for Halloween!

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