Graveyard

Graveyard
Cedar Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Sunday, January 8, 2012

On a Wing and a Prayer

Glen Dyberry Cemetery, Honesdale, PA


“And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.”—Old Testament, David, in the middle of old age and pain

Birds have inspired us probably since the first human gasped in awe as a quietly perching bird suddenly took flight into the sky.  In cemetery art, the most common bird carving is the dove, a symbol of purity and peace.  The dove appears numerous times in the Old Testament, most notably as the creature that Noah sent from the Ark, to see if the waters had receded.  The dove returned with a sprig of an olive branch in its beak (another symbol of peace), demonstrating that the olive tree was growing, so the flood was over and Noah and his family could return to land.  

When a dove is depicted on a tombstone flying downwards, it is a symbol of the Holy Ghost.  This is derived from the writings of St. Luke about the baptism of Jesus.  “It came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon Him.”  

Jesus also instructed his disciples to go forth to preach the Gospel and be as “harmless as doves.”  Because doves are perceived as gentle and harmless, the symbol is frequently used on the grave of a child.

Other birds are occasionally used in cemetery symbolism, usually on the graves of men, especially those in the armed services.  The ones I have found are hawks and eagles, both known for their fierceness, regal bearing and strength.  Having been raised by two people who love birds and have created an aviary in their backyard, I really have an appreciation for birds, especially the larger ones.  When eagles and hawks fly, they have a grace that few of us have.  I always associate eagles and hawks with my father, because he loves them so.  And while I am not so sure you can call him regal, Pop has a strength and a fierceness about him.  Perhaps he will need an eagle or a hawk on his grave someday, too.  

Durham Cemetery, Durham, PA

Durham Cemetery, Durham, PA

Abington Presbyterian Cemetery, Abington, PA

Cosner Cemetery, Newton Ransom, PA

Doylestown Cemetery, Doylestown, PA

Durham Cemetery, Durham, PA

East Swamp Mennonite Cemetery, Quakertown, PA

Easton Cemetery, Easton, PA

Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA

Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA

Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA

Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA

Forks Cemetery, Stockertown, PA (Holy Ghost)

Glen Dyberry Cemetery, Honesdale, PA

Salem Cemetery, Hamlin, PA

Haupt Cemetery, Ambler, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA (Holy Ghost)

St. Peter's Episcopal Cemetery, Lewes, DE

Indian Orchard Cemetery, Indian Orchard, PA

Kaiserville Cemetery, Kaiserville, PA

Lake Winola Cemetery, Lake Winola, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Lawnview Cemetery, Rockledge, PA

Milford Cemetery, Milford, PA

Montgomery Cemetery, Norristown, PA

Montgomery Cemetery, Norristown, PA

Montgomery Cemetery, Norristown, PA

Mountain View Cemetery, Upper Exeter, PA

New Britain Baptist Cemetery, New Britain, PA

Northwood Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Pleasant Valley, PA

Prompton Cemetery, Prompton, PA

Richboro Union Cemetery, Richboro, PA

Richboro Union Cemetery, Richboro, PA (Holy Ghost)

Springtown Cemetery, Springtown, PA

St. Cyril Greek Catholic Cemetery, Blakely, PA

St. John's Lutheran Cemetery, Honesdale, PA

St. Luke's UCC Cemetery, Belfast, PA

St. Michael's Evan. Lutheran Cemetery, Sellersville, PA

St. Peter's Lutheran Cemetery, North Wales, PA

St. Peter's Union Cemetery, Hilltown, PA

West Swamp Mennonite Cemetery, Quakertown, PA

Lake Winola Cemetery, Lake Winola, PA

Stockport Cemetery, Stockport, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Richboro Union Cemetery, Richboro, PA

St. Cyril Greek Catholic Cemetery, Blakely, PA

Overfield Cemetery, Meshoppen, PA

Lawnview Cemetery, Rockledge, PA (Greek section...isn't he cute?)

Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA

Montrose Cemetery, Montrose, PA

New Jerusalem Evan. Lutheran Cemetery, Sellersville, PA

Arlington Cemetery, Upper Darby, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Easton Cemetery, Easton, PA

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