If you haven't noticed the new statement in the heading, I am a charter member of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits. This group was founded by Terry Thornton, and he writes all about the name at his new The Graveyard Rabbit of the Hill Country blog. The short of it is the name came from a poem entitled The Graveyard Rabbit by Frank Lebby Stanton. My favorite lines of the poem are in the very beginning.
In the white moonlight, where the willow waves,
He halfway gallops among the graves --
A tiny ghost in the gloom and gleam,
Content to dwell where the dead men dream...
This definitely describes my passion for cemeteries and the histories they share. Let's break it down:
"In the white moonlight, where the willow waves"
I don't visit cemeteries at night too much, only because it's hard to read the stones and take pictures then! However, there are often live willows waving when I visit, as well as many stone willows standing tall.
"He halfway gallops among the graves"
At the risk of sounding silly, if I'm at a cemetery I've never visited before, I often do the same thing! I go from stone to stone, in no kind of pattern, just to get a feel of the place. Plus, an interesting monument from afar gets my interest and I must check it out. I have to make myself at some point stop and systematically go through the graves for proper transcription, photographs, and to begin to get the full history of the cemetery and those interred.
"A tiny ghost in the gloom and gleam"
Me and my visit are but a tiny speck of the whole history of most cemeteries. Especially those that have been around for hundreds of years. There have been many visitors before me, and there will be many after me.
"Content to dwell where the dead men dream"
That statement is a simple fact that applies to me. I am very content walking among the headstones, reading them, photographing them, and learning from them.
Terry also describes The Association of Graveyard Rabbits in his post I mentioned above. He says it so well, this is almost an exact quote: We are a group of bloggers devoted to cemeteries, grave markers, burial customs, and more. We join in hopes of promoting the study of cemeteries, the preservation of cemeteries, and the transcription of genealogical and historical information that is written in cemeteries.
If you are a blogger that would like to devote your writing time to the topic of cemeteries, please consider joining us. If you are not ready to devote a blog to cemeteries, but do enjoy visiting them, please don't hide your passion! Spread it around and get others involved in those visits. Awareness goes a long way in the preservation of the stories of these cemeteries, the communities in which they lay, and the individuals interred therein.
I hope you will continue to join me on my journey through the cemeteries of the southern United States at the Southern Graves site and this Southern Graves blog.