January 07, 2011

Cemetery Blues

Mt. View Cemetery and St. Mary's Cemetery are at the top of Piedmont Avenue.  This is the place where people in the neighborhood go to stroll, take their daily constitution, go for a jog.  Several times now I've forgotten my camera so this is a view of the highest monuments taken from my window.  Some of the grassy areas above are also part of the cemetery.  You can see the homes of the Oakland Hills rising high above.  And just above the wires in the center, the narrow dome is the tomb of Mr. Charles Crockett, one of the big four investors in the transcontinental railroad. To the right, obscured by the tree, is the tomb of Dr. Samuel Merritt, a philanthropist, former mayor of Oakland, and posthumous founder of Merritt Hospital, and Samuel Merritt University, a health sciences institution in Oakland.  I thought first from my window I was looking at a church, but when I went there I realized these were rather impressive tombs.

So I walked in the cemetery and read stones as I went.  Couldn't help it.  (I'll take snapshots pretty soon.)  So many born in Scotland and Ireland around 1850 and emigrated to New York then California.  What brought them?  Perhaps the promise of gold, the wild frontier, something better than what they could find at "home" in the coal mines and foundries.  These would be women and men who were born at the time of the potato famine in Ireland and perhaps into poverty in the cities of Scotland.  They sailed over, made their way west, and landed in the golden sun.  Some of them did all right.

The flow of lives fed through me as I walked.  A long river of life being lived and turning again into the earth.  Not so many spirits still awake, but something murmuring in the deep settledness, a collective aura of peace in the certainty of our eventual outcome.  We'll all arrive, do our best, then Rest in Peace and let others take over to be awake for their turn in consciousness in the 'flowing now'.  Carpe diem, my dear ones.  Carpe Diem!