October is Graveyard Month

October is  my favorite month of the year.  It may or may not be because of my birthday, but I do know that it is because of Halloween.  It is probably a combination of things:  Halloween, my birthday, autumn, and the general feeling of anticipation mixed with dread as the harvest is gathered in preparation for the coming of the dark, cold days of winter.   I feel a sense of romance as leaves change colors, pumpkins appear on porch steps, and figures of ghosts are hung from molting trees.  I love the dark evenings when candles are lit and ghost stories are told. I love the cold crisp smell of the air. It’s the perfect month for celebrating cemeteries.

Balyna Parish Cemetery in Ireland. Did you know that our modern day celebration of Halloween comes from Ireland?

October is a time for romance, the kind of romance that elicits feelings of excitement, nostalgia and mystery–a sentimental mood that lends a listening ear towards the unknown things of the past.  Graveyards are some of the most romantic places I know.  They are the places that keep the things of the past in a state of limbo–we know the stories are there, but they are buried with the storytellers and remain in the realm of the unknown.  Cemeteries are the true places of Untold Stories.

So in the spirit of cemeteries and storytelling, I will be sharing bits and pieces of stories of the past told by others.  Today, I’d like to share a comment made on my own Untold Stories from a fellow blogger, Jeff Roberts:

“We grow up believing graveyards to be haunted. It was almost a rite of passage to test your bravery by visiting the forgotten after midnight. We all thought we saw ghosts as shadows danced from grave to grave by the reflective moonlight….. given time and some maturity this perspective changed. The hauntings became monuments. The monuments became people. These people became giants. Not all who walk this earth are compelled to understand the past that shapes our present.

I am one so fortunate. As a kid hiking the sage & juniper, I saw much more than just nature. Humanity had been here. An arrowhead, a wagon trail trace, a metate, a stump, a rusted ring from a barrel, and a purple glint… glass from a pioneer traveller. Eventually it became my task to make sense out of 150 years of cemetery records. An opportunity to find the lost or the misplaced or the forgotten. An opportunity to connect this grave with that grave or that grave with that family. An opportunity to reconnect people with their past. An opportunity to tell a hundred stories. And what stories and what men and women and what toil and what sacrifice and what tragedy and what sorrow and what joy.”

Thank you, Jeff, for keeping the romance alive; and Happy Graveyard Month!

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