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Monuments and Memories at Mt. Auburn Cemetery. With Gratuitous Cats.

Sunday, August 9, 2015


There was a bunneh holding a sunflower balloon when I got to Hodge's house on my birthday morning.  That night, there was Grandma Cree's lemon pound cake, swimming in lemon sauce and so, so delicious, to share with Hodge, husband John, Corey and Phoebe. How wonderful was that?

I have more images from Mount Auburn Cemetery, which is so rife with wonderful things to look at that I could probably blog from there for two years straight without running out of material. Add in the change of seasons, weather and light, and I could blog it for a lifetime.

I met bluestone on my birthday. A trip to Wikipedia leaves me confused as to whether this might be Pennsylvania or Shenandoah Valley bluestone; whether it's feldspathic sandstone (PA) or feldspathic greywacke (VA). Or neither. Dunno. The Webz being what they are, somebody might flutter in on little cupid's wings to tell me. Rocks. I love 'em, but I don't know 'em.

Look at what they can carve from this stuff, though. We found a family with fabulous bluestone tablets, marvelously hard and fine for detail.


I'm just guessing here, but I'm thinking the family name of Beebe might have something to do with the hive and its inhabitants carved hereon...Maybe they called Edward "Bee" in good New England fashion.


Loving the stylized wings that promise to lift these children (or their heads, anyway) into heaven. 


I'm not sure what's going on here, but we really dug this one, a sort of disgruntled face with a surprise turkeytail of feathers around it. If I had to guess I'd say it was an attempt at a likeness of the deceased.


This is a particularly lovely stone. I really love the botanicals on so many Mt. Auburn stones. 


Speaking of lovely botanicals, a sea change is occurring at Mount Auburn as management is emphasizing the use of native plants to beautify and attract pollinators. It's working!


The mound on which the viewing tower stands used to be landscaped, if I remember, in grass and shrubbery. Now, a native plant garden is springing to life!


I couldn't have been more thrilled to see these plantings, with tiger and spicebush swallowtails and silver-spotted skippers flitting through.


Wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) and purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) are the big splashes of color. The butterflies were so happy. Butterflies in a cemetery lift the heart. Good going, MAC.


American goldfinches appreciate the seeds in all these coneflower heads, and they'll check out the bergamot come its time, too. A Baltimore oriole tootled overhead, red-eyed vireos sang; house wrens darted behind stones. It was divine to see what had been a non-descript hillside spring to life with unbridled meadows of native plants that belong and prosper here.

We climbed the tower for a breathtaking view of beautiful Boston. 


The light had a shimmery, surreal quality that made me feel as if the sky were putting on a show just for us.


Near Willow Pond, half-hidden beneath massive dawn redwoods (Metasequoia), Hodge showed us a gigantic boulder, cloven in half, that she'd never noticed before. It was the perfect compliment to the biologically ancient trees overhead. Corey swiped Phoebe's phone to shoot her portrait against the rock.


We grooved on some exotic hydrangeas on the way down to Willow Pond.


Since Phoebe's been working with Caroline Waller of Passiflora Studio, her already keen appreciation of flowers has expanded. She's helped Caroline pull off several weddings this summer, and learned volumes about floral husbandry, arranging, work and life. 


She now knows how to make these!



hence her enchantment with exquisite oakleaf hydrangeas such as inhabit Mount Auburn. She was itching to make bouquets! but of course restrained herself.


Watching the birdwatcher watching turtles at Willow Pond.


35 years ago, I found many life birds at Willow Pond. Vireos love weeping willows, and that's where I'd find them--white-eyed, yellow-throated, red-eyed, warbling--even Philadelphia sometimes!



To be there with my daughter and her love, well, that was a full-circle moment, one that filled my heart.


The paths beckoned us onward. 


We found more putti. I especially loved the artistry in these. Gorgeous faces, and pretty darn good wings, too, if you don't get too Science Chimpy about the two sets of secondaries or the overlap of the underwing coverts. Let's just say they're better than the bluestone wings.


Oh, the Easter lilies, singing of spirits rising again! One of my very favorite stones, natural and pleasingly asymmetrical, like nature herself.


Any trip to Mount Auburn would be incomplete without noting some of the weirdness that weather and acid rain wreaks. I'm always a bit creeped out by the sleeping children, but when they melt...


A cradle full of groundcover.
There is a dorm called Wigglesworth at Harvard. 


More weather-related alchemy... I'm pretty sure this little fella was not scowling when first installed. Hey! Where did my dadburn hands go??


We have lots of fairly irreverent fun at Mount Auburn, but we try to keep our chortling muffled.


Corey takes a dip at towertop.


Truly, one of the best birthdays ever. All right. I'm done celebrating, but I'll never be done reminiscing about time spent with people I love in a place I love too.

Gratuitous cat photos from Java Macomber


What? I wasn't just slouching unattractively.


Yes you were.

and her more decorous sister Star


who takes up a kitchen stool in a most delightful way.



These two are da bombs. I get a huge kick out of watching them interact with each other and totally manipulate Hodge and John into doing their every bidding, which revolves around (at last count) four metered daily feedings. Lots of very soft, pitiful coughy mewing and give-me-kibble-staredowns, all day long.


You forgot to top me off after the morning feeding.





3 comments:

I love walking through cemeteries, and thank you for bringing me along to this one. It looks like one of the best, with all the highly ornamented monuments and the wildflowers. Beautiful!

I noticed wild bergamot on the side of the highway yesterday and wondered what it was - now I know - thanks Julie!

Any post with gratuitous cats can't be all bad. Makes me want to visit Mt. Auburn someday (vertically, under own power). And it's wonderful seeing Phoebe so happy; dare Corey look otherwise?

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