When I was growing up in rural West Virginia, what we now call Memorial Day was Decoration Day. A few days before, the family went to the community graveyard (no fancy names then) with mowing scythes, rakes and grass clippers. We’d tidy up all the family grave sites, clean the moss from the stones, and then work on any abandoned graves, try and remember who they were.
Large monuments to the deceased stood silent vigil over the bones of the long dead. Creeping life darkened the stone angels, slowly decaying their beauty. They will not survive eternally. They crumble like the bones they guard. The people who commissioned these monuments to themselves might just have well spent the money on Mardi Gras. Many of the living in this city appeared to be preparing to do just that, if the purple, gold and green decorations are any indication.
Claire and I were here a decade ago in our first motorhome. It is probably the most beautiful beach in the East. I wrote about it on Newbohemians.net in 1998. once you get inside the gate of the park, much is the same as it was a decade ago, except that it is now bone dry in the dunes, result of the very serious drought the Southeast is suffering now. The night is quiet now, compared to the night walk we took then, because their is no water for the sonorous critters and they have gone elsewhere, or died. We walked several miles today and saw not one sign of alligator, and no water for frogs or other fresh water dwellers
New England, for example: I grew up in the East, and yet the New England of my dreams came from calendar photos and Robert Frost poems. The poems were written in the 1910’s and 1930’s when New England was an agrarian society where people mostly made their living from the land. They built fences of stone and carved meadows and fields out of the forest, ground grain with water power, plowed and timbered with horses. They built covered bridges, not from a sense aesthetic, but for the practical reasons of climate.