The gardens of the grim reaper

4 May 2006

In the Netherlands I was used to cemeteries being quite formal. We only visit them (on days other than a funeral) if we had to do something important. Such places are a bit apart from the ordinary world and therefore kept discrete by hedges or walls. Perhaps from the perspective that in general we were there to do private deals where passersby have nothing to do with it.

The gardens of the grime reaper

Along the highway

For example;

  • Discuss with the deceased.
  • Paying some attention because it’s a national holiday.
  • A visit because we are feeling guilty.
  • Begging for his/her approval in case we want to do something where about we and the deceased in life have disagreed (like marrying that dumb girl, or buying a boat).
  • Or provide an explanation if we had already done something like the latter.
The gardens of the grime reaper

Until the shoulder

Well, you get my point; typical the kind of cases for the wise invisibles …

Here in New Zealand, I can see the cemeteries in full regalia if we drive by. Which means; they are located right beside the road. Openly without bushes around it. Just a square piece of land, sometimes without a proper path or even without a sandy trail that leads to the graves. Preferably on a hill, so every deceased has a clear view on the traffic, like they are sitting in a cinema.
Sometimes the tombstones are build until the very edge of the road. It takes some practice, but if you would like, you even can reduce speed and throw your bunch of flowers out of the window, right on granny’s grave.

The gardens of the grime reaper

In the front yard

Sometimes it’s like someone started a cemetery in his front yard, with 10 graves at most.
There are also more lonely places with sea view, bluntly located in a hollow in the dunes.

Yesterday we came back from Hamilton and for the first time drove in the dark along these graveyards. In the evening there are lights! You know; those LED lanterns charged by the sun.