• Melissa Neeb

Graveyard Exploration (It's Not as Creepy as You Think!)

Updated: Dec 11, 2020

There is a little graveyard that I love.

It sits atop a modest hill with an iron gate flanking the entrance. Surrounded by a thick ravine, sunlight flickers in the trees like lighters at a concert. No one speaks here so neither do I. I don't want to be rude.

The leaves skitter underfoot, frolicking in the balding patches of grass. I pause at each gravestone, allowing the dead to be remembered even though I knew none of them. In this moment, the thought is enough.

I imagine their lives. The feet that walked the same earth as I. What work did they do? Did they love or hate hard? Did they endure disease, or chronic pain, or persecution? Do they have relatives who still speak their names? Does someone love them still? Is there a box somewhere with letters they wrote decades ago? Did they live good lives? Did they believe in God?

I think about the ones who died young. Who breathed air into their tiny lungs only for a few precious minutes, or a couple of heartbreaking days. Did their families ever get over the loss? Did they even have names? Did their mothers hear their cries long after they were gone?

Some headstones are broken here and that does not sit well with me. One was tipped over entirely. I clean the dirt off and stand it erect again. Souls should be honored, even after the whispered echo of their existence has faded.

It is up to us who remain to make the most of our days. To briskly whisk the negative out of our windows and our thoughts. To be tender and love fiercely all at once. To laugh as loud as we can and be abundantly forgiving.

To see beauty in the strangest of places and to honor it with moment of gratitude.

The next time you chance upon an old graveyard, pull in and explore. Life's grandest moments are the unexpected ones.

Rapidan Holberg Cemetery, MN

Photography by Mella Memories. All rights reserved.

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