Monday, February 14, 2011

city of the dead...

I drove out last night to meet up with a friend of mine at my favorite coffeeshop to finish out the weekend, making a detour to Edgewater to take photos of the sunset as my low battery light began to flash.

The barista was listening to Blonde Redhead, Kim graded papers, I studied for a test and got mad at the glaring historical inaccuracies in my textbook (such as that Zimbabwe was way better off under Mugabe, and that Southern Sudan is overreacting because they were Christianized rather than Islamized, genocide be damned), and drank green tea. The atmosphere in there is perfect for writing, so I gave up on my stupid book and now have a real beginning for the Chinese Democracy of an epic Cleveland novel.

There was a couple at the table next to us that were talking kind of ridiculously the whole night. It seemed like they were both really trying to impress each other with how ironic and artsy they were and it just got too boring to even eavesdrop on after awhile. She figured out that they had met over the Internet and this was the first time they saw each other in person. I get the feeling it's not going to work out. But maybe that's just my inherent cynicism about anything involving mere mortals.

I hung out with the family this weekend, and my sister asked me to be her doula when she gives birth three months from now, which I guess means something along the lines of moral support and "being there" and such. I'm honestly honored, excited and nervous to be there with her through the whole birthing process, whatever this whole thing involves.

I've been getting some cabin fever pretty bad so I went down to the Valley to walk around in the woods. I don't know if it counts as real Darkthroning in the woods as I didn't venture too far off the beaten track given the foot of snow still on the ground that kept me on the little paths off the main paved one since I'm alone and don't want to have my body fished out of Rocky River months from now whether from my own well-documented clumsiness or foul play.

Everyone else either had a dog or two or was wearing spandex from head to toe and running seemingly oblivious through the beautiful winter scenes, while I walked with no real hurry, taking pictures of random pine trees and the sun coming through bare branches by the frozen river, finding that my pair of combat boots from my punk rock days were actually something almost practical.

The thaw in temperature and the great feeling of being out and moving sent me out after church to Lakeview for more solo wandering with camera. I covered a lot of ground, climbing up snow covered hills, trying to distinguish the indentations denoted by smaller gravestones covered by the snow, and took loads of pictures of angels and monuments that looked like mini Egyptian temples, the final resting places of robber barons and people that streets were named after.

I never realized there was a whole back part until I got back to where my car was and ran into a professor that my sister had who told me that Eliot Ness's grave was over by the pond. He said he jogs here on a regular basis and recommended the chapel to me.

I said I take out of town visitors to see the gorgeous little building with the Tiffany window and glass mosaics and he said "you take people to the CEMETERY?" but considering he's into Romantic poets and whatnot, it shouldn't be that shocking.

The gates were going to close in half an hour so I drove the rest of it, stopping to take photos, but newer markers aren't nearly so interesting as the old ones. I finally found the Haserot Angel, in repose next to a steep cliff.

I got lost in the back part that's newer and where the names on the tombstones are slightly less WASPy but the combination of morbid ostentation and affectations of piety are just as much omnipresent, like this stone, that has a big cross but then has the social standing quite prominent below. These people aren't even dead yet.

One woman was sitting on a chair next to her husband's grave in the middle of a field and sometimes I forget that there really are dead bodies here underneath the ground and the layers of ice and snow. It's easy to forget that when all you see is monuments and angels.


Chef Cthulhu said...

Having been there for all four of my wife's deliveries totaling nearly 50 total hours of labor, two of which were inductions (which are especially unpredictable) all I can say is, expect the unexpected. Learn and prepare, but when the time comes you won't be prepared, but as long as you're focused on caring for and helping your sister you'll do fine. And years from now looking back you'll realize what an amazing thing it is to witness.

Okay, enough touchy-feely crap.

I've owned combat boots in one incarnation or another since swearing in in 1986, and I've never, EVER, thought of them as "almost practical".

That Haserot Angel is totally metal. To the hilt. Great pics all round.

Anonymous said...

i grew up with a cemetery like that practically in my backyard, was a great place to play but i wouldn't recommend it now for single-lady strolls. say if yer not a hater of manly men than how come no danzig on yer play lists?

thatgirl said...

Thanks! I think almost every arty kid in the county has a photo of that angel in their portfolio. It is pretty awesome.

My great-grandparents are in a cemetery like that. It's beautiful but there's too much in the way of drug dealing and homicide to go there. Never been a Glenn Danzig fan, don't really know why.

Randal Graves said...

For proper darkthroning, one must tote a bladed instrument. Never know when there'll be victuals or enemies to behead.

Extra swanky imagery & if that doesn't make you want to start reciting Poe out loud, nothing will short of Poe's ghost.