Saturday, September 24, 2011

Marble & Moss: Bonaventure Cemetery

"I was very thirsty after walking so long in the muggy heat, a distance of three or four miles from the city, to get to this graveyard. A dull, sluggish, coffee-colored stream flows under the road just outside the graveyard garden park, from which I managed to get a drink after breaking a way down to the water through a dense fringe of bushes, daring the snakes and alligators in the dark. Thus refreshed I entered the weird and beautiful abode of the dead." - John Muir
Recently I revisited Bonaventure Cemetery here in Savannah, which is only about a couple miles by bicycle from where I'm staying. So early one morning on the weekend while it was still only eighty degrees (albeit with 70% humidity) I pedaled over to spend a couple hours doing a shoot on some of the beautiful and elaborate headstones that are scattered about the 160 acres.

On a side-note, there's an interesting bit of trivia associated with this place: in 1867 the naturalist and father of preservationism John Muir underwent his epic "A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf" and spent a week camped out here. For myself, returning to Savannah has meant discovering most of my ghosts are laid to rest, while in the meantime there is a creative resurrection taking place withing the hallowed hollowed ground of my head. And who knew zombie cartoonists would sweat so damn much?

But for a couple cars of slowly trolling tourists, nothing stirred during my visit except the profusion of songbirds as I walked the quiet avenues of mossy oak and weathered stone. There is something stately and provocative about a cemetery that has sculptures to mark gravesites, as opposed to to the ugly slabs of these modern times. Far from being an atmosphere of fear, cemeteries have long been an oasis of peace and outpost of nature amidst city life for me. Many a day was spent during highschool exploring Oakwood-Morningside in Syracuse, NY, and any visit back home isn't complete without a requisite stroll through some historical family plot in WNY, where one wouldn't be able to stick a shovel in the ground without turning over some composted generation of the Smith clan.

After this brief interlude it was back into busy traffic, on to the Piggly Wiggly, and then return to the blog homework.

*More images uploaded to the new "Dixie" web-album over on Picasa.


  1. Going to try this posting again...
    Absolutely wonderful photos!

  2. Thank you - especially coming from such an awesome photographer as yourself!
    I've been getting inspired by following YOUR blog... great to see ya here!