Rose Hill Cemetery

Memorial Day

“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”
— Joseph Campbell

Here in America, we are observing Memorial Day today — a national holiday that recognizes and remembers those who died in the service of our country’s armed forces. Originally known as Decoration Day, it is traditional for people to visit the graves of those who died in service and to decorate those graves with small American flags. It is a day in which we honor and show gratitude to those who gave their lives so that the rest of their countrymen could continue in theirs.

"Memorial Day", Nikon D800, ISO 320, f/2.2 at 1/400 sec., 85mm

“Memorial Day”, Nikon D800, ISO 320, f/2.2 at 1/400 sec., 85mm

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Photographing people, places, pets and ponderings.

Booking family, personal, business and pet portrait sittings throughout Central Florida

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Beads of Burden

“I’m having my own mardi gras celebration without the parades, costumes or people.”
–Unknown

This is another grave decoration, and it sits next to the grave of a young man who died in his teens. Knowing what it is like to lose a spouse, I’m sure I can only begin to imagine what it must be like to lose a child.

"Beads of Burden", Nikon D800, ISO 200, f/7.1 at 1/1000 sec., 90mm

“Beads of Burden”, Nikon D800, ISO 200, f/7.1 at 1/1000 sec., 90mm

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Photographing people, places, pets and ponderings.

Booking family, personal, business and pet portrait sittings throughout Central Florida.

Grief Evolved

Overgrown and long neglected, Nature is working to reclaim this Rose Hill Cemetery grave decoration. My imagination takes note of the leafy cluster that has formed under the left eye, like tears, reflecting the sorrow of having been forgotten. It’s a striking reminder that “gone but not forgotten” is an epitaph that’s only valid for as long as there’s someone around who remembers.

"Grief Evolved", Nikon D800, ISO 200, f/5.6 at 1/160 sec., 150mm

“Grief Evolved”, Nikon D800, ISO 200, f/5.6 at 1/160 sec., 150mm

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Why?

Ours is not to reason why
the time’s so short.
We live, we die.

It’s pretty clear that this angel has held its post as a faithful graveside companion for many years. It’s undoubtedly been time enough to conclude there are some mysteries that don’t have a solution small enough for the mind of man to conceive.

"Why?", Nikon D800, ISO 200, f/5.6 at 1/1600 sec., 150mm

“Why?”, Nikon D800, ISO 200, f/5.6 at 1/1600 sec., 150mm
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Games Never Played

Today’s photo is another grave image from the local cemetery. This baseball sits at the base of a large granite headstone for a young boy. I believe it was left here as a memento in 1996, a conclusion I’m basing on what appears to be a “96” written under the part of the inscription visible in the photo. If that’s correct, then I’m puzzled how it has held up so well in the Florida sun and rain. Gifts like this seem to represent acts of healing; coping with having to let go. I get it.

In the months that have followed James’ death from cancer, I have more than once shed tears over having neglected to place in his coffin a photo of Skoshi, his beloved Siamese “shadow” (for she definitely was “his cat” and stayed inseparably glued to his side). I would also like to have placed the favorite book we had in common, Ellen G. White’s The Desire of Ages. (I know of at least 5 times he read it over the years we shared together and that he’d also read it several times before that.) I know that ultimately, I would have been the beneficiary of putting these items by his side, not him. Grief is a quickly mutating monster that operates outside of logic. And regret is a special hell when mixed with a large portion of shattered dreams and a splash of words unspoken. Shaken and stirred, you cope as you can.

"Games Never Played", Nikon D800, ISO 200, f/5.6 at 1/320 sec., 300mm Click to Enlarge View

“Games Never Played”, Nikon D800, ISO 200, f/5.6 at 1/320 sec., 300mm
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Photographing people, places, pets and ponderings.

Booking family, personal, business and pet portrait sittings throughout Central Florida.

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Make Your Sad Go Away

“The man walked past me and stopped, observing the blood running down my neck.

“Your injury. Let us tend to it.” He looked out through the open doorway and silently gestured to someone out there. “Our world,” he said, “is far more advanced than yours. For reasons you’ll understand shortly.”

A thin, bony, naked woman entered the room, carrying two small, white kittens. She sat one of the fluffy cats in my lap and stuffed the other down my shirt. She turned and left.

“There,” said the large man. “The kittens will make your sad go away.”

-― David Wong, John Dies at the End

"Player vs. Prayer" Click here to view larger size. Nikon D800, ISO 200, f/7.1 at 1/80 sec., 62mm

“Player vs. Prayer”, Nikon D800, ISO 200, f/7.1 at 1/80 sec., 62mm
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A Light Touch

“I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty every day.”
— Oriah Mountain Dreamer, Canadian teacher and author, excerpted from the poem The Invitation

Today’s photo is another in the new series I have spontaneously found myself working on, and which I’m calling A Grave Image. Let me know what you think.

"A Light Touch" Nikon D800, ISO 200, f/5.6 at 1/80 sec., 300mm

“A Light Touch” Nikon D800, ISO 200, f/5.6 at 1/80 sec., 300mm
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Details of my social life

You’ll find me on Instagram at @earlharrisphoto, posting photos captured and edited on my iPhone. I am posting a lot of photos of cats there, too. #herekittykitty #instagramcats

I’m tweeting and Twittering at @earlharrisphoto

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Grave Offerings

As I wander through cemeteries, I am always struck by the variety of offerings to the dead that I encounter. Sometimes they are simple: a flower; a photo; a favorite toy; bottles of soda or alcohol; a statuette… In other cases, they can be quite elaborate. I am most intrigued by those things left behind that imply an element of ritual, and I wonder if they are meant to appease a potentially restless spirit or an angry god/God. For one who believes the spirits of the dead are wandering around in the ether or that God demands appeasement rather than having a character of love, I suppose these gifts serve both a symbolic and a functional or practical purpose. I am intrigued by how they are often indicative of a broader culture or faith while simultaneously revealing the very individualized and personal ways we employ to cope with the death of a loved one.

"Grave Offerings" [Click the image to enlarge/reduce its size.] Nikon D800, ISO 320, f/4.0 at 1/25 sec., 85mm

“Grave Offerings” Nikon D800, ISO 320, f/4.0 at 1/25 sec., 85mm
Click here to view a larger size.

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Photographing people, places, pets and ponderings.

Booking family, individual, business and pet portrait sittings throughout Central Florida.

Keep Shuttering

If you enjoyed today’s photo, please share this post. There are convenient buttons below for the big social networks that make this really easy to do.

You’ll find me on Instagram at @earlharrisphoto, posting photos captured and edited on my iPhone. I post a lot of photos of cats there, too. #herekittykitty #instagramcats

I tweet and Twitter from @earlharrisphoto

And there’s always Facebook

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He’s Stoned

“Stand Up Tall: To become a real boy you must prove yourself brave, truthful and unselfish.”
– Pinocchio

"Let's get human'd" [Click the image to enlarge/reduce its size.] Nikon D800, ISO 200, f/7.1 at 1/80 sec., 300mm

“Let’s get human’d” [Click the image to enlarge/reduce its size.] Nikon D800, ISO 200, f/7.1 at 1/80 sec., 300mm
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Photographing people, places, pets and ponderings.

Booking family, individual, business and pet portrait sittings throughout Central Florida.

Be Social
If you enjoyed today’s post, please share it with somebody.

You’ll find me on Instagram at @earlharrisphoto, posting photos captured and edited on my iPhone. I am posting a lot of photos of cats there, too. #herekittykitty #instagramcats

I’m tweeting and Twittering at @earlharrisphoto

And of course, I’m on Facebook

Touched by a Toy

“There is no greater sorrow than to recall happiness in times of misery.”
— Dante Alighieri

We buried my great aunt on Monday, who died in her sleep after 103 years of remarkable life. Walking through the cemetery, I came upon this marker for an 11 year-old boy who died in 1965. Uncomfortable, isn’t it?

"Sleep Companion" [Click the image to enlarge/reduce its size.] Nikon D800, ISO 200, f/8.0 at 1/125 sec., 160mm

“Sleep Companion” [Click the image to enlarge/reduce its size.] Nikon D800, ISO 200, f/8.0 at 1/125 sec., 160mm
Prints are available here.

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Photographing people, places, pets and ponderings.

Booking family, individual, business and pet portrait sittings throughout Central Florida.

Let’s Get Social

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Follow me on Instagram at @earlharrisphoto, where I am posting photos (and a bunch of kitty pics!) captured and edited on my iPhone. #herekittykitty #instagramcats

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