Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Forgotten in Lee County Alabama

Rural routes in Lee County Alabama
Today, I took a stroll down an old dirt road in search of an abandoned cemetery I found when I was about ten years old. The first time I saw it, it looked forgotten and neglected. The tall Alabama pines shadowed the hidden gravestones on a slight incline and the straw, which fell from high in the canopy, kept the area clear and did a great job of naturally keeping the brush down. It seemed to be a sad place. No one kept it up and I could feel a sense of dying hope as I read the names aloud from each marker that was still readable. I never spoke of it until I was about sixteen. The first time I took a friend to the old place, something trotted through the surrounding woods, scaring me back into the car and locking my friend outside by accident. (A joke we tell now that she will never let me live down).

Golden Silk Orb Weaver
When I visited today, I found again, that nature is still slowly devouring this meager resting place. I’ve documented the names, birth and death dates; just in case the cemetery is gone one day. It still feels very lonely there. A glimmer of hope hanging on by a thread; that was the symbolism I gathered from the countless Orb weavers building their homes in the trees and surrounding brush. It's not unusual to see old cemeteries being forgotten but it just seems untimely. A place so small and lonely, will perhaps be gone; erased from history all together.
Abandoned family cemetery in Lee County Alabama
This sacred spot is nearly covered in vegetation. A Confederate soldier is buried here, a mother, father and child together, and many headstones are weathered to the point the names are no longer visible. The grave markers; so brittle that the slightest touch deteriorates the stone into powder. Just as the people buried here have become ash, so is their resting place. Consumed and overgrown with the Acorn and Water Oaks, Confederate Jasmine, and creatures of the Alabama forest, it’s hard to watch something sacred decompose and disappear. Soon, this place will be only a memory.



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