Sunday, July 12, 2009

Dennis Evanosky Discusses Cemetery Symbolism

[Photo of anchor and Goodall monument by Michael Colbruno; click images to enlarge]

From Dennis Evanosky's book "Mountain View Cemetery" -

Symbols abound in cemeteries and make them interesting; Mountain View is no exception. A neatly trimmed sheaf of ripened wheat, an inverted torch that still burns and an obelisk draped with a tasseled pall: each has its own meaning.

Some symbols make personal statements about the deceased; others chosen from the stonecutter's sketchbook leave more general messages.

A dove flies across a marker with a sprig of olive bearing the message of life after death. A winged hourglass reminds us that time flies.

Laurel leaves, often in the shape of a wreath, announce victory over death. A broken column speaks of a life cut short. Ivy and lambs; lilies and urns all have their messages.

All we have to do is discover them.

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." These words from the New Testament - Hebrews 6:18 - appear throughout Mountain View in the form of a woman leaning on an anchor. She points skyward in this detail on the Goodall mausoleum on Millionaire's Row: the star above her forehead announces she is not of this world.

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