"In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks."
John Muir

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Key Word is Quirky

"Quirk"-origin unknown, date 1565,
Meaning:  an abrupt twist or curve;
a peculiar trait: idiosyncrasy.

The older I get, 
the more I like quirky people, things and places.
And, besides that (or because of that),
I've always liked cemeteries.
How exciting to find both right in Fairbanks,
on a green hill overlooking the city: a quirky cemetery.

(That I don't want one, mainly.)
We drove around the path and came upon this corner
 with totally handmade markers.  
Wooden boards with hand carved lettering.
I'd never seen anything like it!
(And I've been in lots of cemeteries, I tell you.)

All fairly recent burials, there were many tokens of love
spread around the plots.  It was easy to see the personalities of the interred.  
A nice touch, really.
Sports, nature, flying.

Abigail was thrilled at the little ceramic angels and cherubs.
She called them "babies" and carried them around.
Out of respect, we tried very hard to replace them in the correct plots.
Stuffed animals tempted her, as well, but we urged her to leave them alone.
The same with colorful pinwheels and flags.

This marker looks like a propeller and reads 
"She flew away."
Notice Abigail's little collection of pinwheels here.
Her poor mother backtracked and replaced each one.

I thought that same flying sentiment was also appropriate for this rusty birdcage.
No name, but the door is propped open, symbolic of the freedom of that soul.

Wandering around a cemetery, I lose myself in recreating lives for those buried there,
 based on names, ages, dates.
Fairbanks, much like Texas, has a young history.
There is a section for "Pioneers", the original settlers, in the late 1800's.

Nathaniel Ralph Hudson, born in Vermont,
made it to Fairbanks at some time in his life. 
I pondered the road conditions, or lack thereof.
The Al-Can Highway didn't come into existence until WW II.
Did he even have a car?  
Could a horse and wagon have made it?
He may have ridden west across Canada since he lived near the northern border.
Perhaps on a train.
I know for a fact that roads in Northwest British Columbia and Yukon Territories were treacherous in 2010.  
What did Nathaniel find in, say, 1890?
Did he come searching for gold? Adventure? Love?
He found love somewhere here because he is called "Beloved".
A lovely word to be remembered by.

 And then there is old Sigvar.
Sometime between 1892 and 1944 he left Norway for Fairbanks.
Was he homesick or fulfilled?
Did he speak English?
Did he come alone or with parents? A wife?
Did he build a log cabin like many early settlers did?
Did he ice fish like he had done in Norway?

Reflective places, these cemeteries.
And homemade headstones, soccer balls, toys and old shoes make this one quirky.
Rather like me.


  1. Amusing, these thoughts on the tomb stones. I like the story of James Dobson's mother. It is said that she said, when she dies(I guess she is now dead) she wanted on her tombstone"I told you I was sick!" carol

  2. I like that you captured abigail moving the gravestone gifts around to the different sites... very funny.