I often speak of my favorite graveyard – Druid Ridge Cemetery, in Pikesville, Maryland. It’s a huge, rambling place containing many thousands of graves, but it’s favored spot in my heart stems from an unparalleled beauty, and the way it insists on animating my being. Druid Ridge is a supremely peaceful site – a kind of improbable gated deliverance from the predictable turbulence of life. For a time there, I would visit often, but changes in my life have kept me away this past year or so. Now, each trip past her main entrance has given rise to a solemn promise that I’ll return again in spring. Not just to visit loved ones, but to bask in the cherry blossoms and dogwoods; to commune under the shade of spruce and maples; to meander inconstantly down the paths by the pond, with the ducks and the greenest of greens… The reddest of reds.
Perhaps I’ll stop by and see some old friends – participants in my EVP Cemetery Project. Mrs. Sappington and her still unmarried daughter, Anna; Mary Kratzmer in her very private mausoleum for one; the Thompson family of 14. Others – they all took the time to speak, and I frequently visit for a moment, offering a metaphorical tip of the cap or a quiet “hello, it’s a beautiful day.” A little maudlin perhaps, but it’s the way Druid Ridge surrounds you, even though it can certainly stir one’s capacity for dread – particularly at night, alone with the spirits and a transcendent sense of surreal continuance. But this is not an inherently creepy or suspect place; not sad and heavy – Druid Ridge is the “un-cemetery,” and over the years I have assimilated her into my core. It’s the place I wish to be when the time is right.
I’ve decided to take a page from my friend Patrick’s Big Seance blog and share some photos of Druid Ridge, but with a slightly different approach. These photos will hopefully communicate the majesty of this chosen place. No headstones or markers, family names or plots – not even a single statue. Just the expression of God’s beauty, the hopeful dignity of a final resting place, and the simple noble confluence of nature and the soul. These photos were meant to communicate the place as I feel it, and the way it beckons me. I hope you enjoy my un-cemetery… If you can find it.