Mountain View Cemetery Stroll

Carl over at Stainless Steel Droppings has invited readers to post thoughts and images of cemeteries as part of The Graveyard Book readalong. For me, an assignment right up Mausoleum Alley. The following is inspired by the  renowned Victorian landmark, Mountain View Cemetery , and I updated this piece with additional photos. Let us go then, you and I, when ghosts and ghouls patrol the sky…

Pause on the threshold of Mountain View Cemetery, but do not distract yourself with the broken threads of an abandoned spider web; you are at the gates.

Meander up the circular cement paths and study the graves ornamented with empty Greek urns, sleeping lambs, columns: some covered in shawls, some broken off at the apex.

Then stroll beyond inscripted Chinese calligraphy, carved Japanese crests, countless crosses: Celtic, Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox. And there, a miniature mosque on a knoll surrounded by Civil War-style cannons.

Before circling the Jewish Home of Eternity studded with Stars of David and rose garlands, linger on a stone bench and observe water slip down rocks and a weeping willow trail leaves like tears into a dense green pool. From here, around a molded tree trunk (angle-cut for a life felled), rest cross-legged in front of a small tower and pluck up a blade of grass.

Squint, eyes half-closed facing the sun, and you can almost see them coming up the hill. Exquisite horses pulling narrow-track surreys, the canopy top fringe swaying to their hooves’ rhythm, before stopping in front of their future homes. A family alights, laden with picnic provisions and parasols (first spreading a quilt on their piece of hill, perhaps the World Without End block pattern in avocado green, bubble gum pink, and feed sack muslin) and small neatly bound volumes of poetry to absorb in the afternoon sun. The dead had merely departed, removing themselves to a fashionable new address, still available on short notice to share a family meal. Continue the climb from here, and you find yourself among pyramids, obelisks, temples, and tombs. At the top of the mountain, remove your hat, wipe away the sweat gathered beneath the band with an embossed linen handkerchief, and rest on the step of the Ghirardelli mausoleum, the white marble cold under your thighs.

Watched by the weeping angel on the roof above you, and with the glass and steel skylit monuments of the still-living distantly beyond the gates, at your feet is spread the view of the world.

About Deb Atwood

I am a writer, editor, tutor interested in literary and women's fiction, ghost stories and all things Korean.
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11 Responses to Mountain View Cemetery Stroll

  1. Carl V. says:

    That was a grand tour! Love all the images you chose to share. I could see that being a regular haunt for me, pardon the pun, if I lived close by. Gorgeous. And I’m sure it is suitably moody in the dark.

  2. Thanks for the vicarious tour! What a beautiful place–and I can well imagine ghosts using the monuments as homes. They look like little houses.

  3. TBM says:

    What a wonderful and thrilling tour. I would love to wander here and to explore. Thanks!

  4. Carol says:

    What a wonderful tour.

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