On our journey together today, we’re going to take a look at something that is a little different for us here at The Hollow. We typically love to photograph buildings, architecture, cars and other loosely related subjects, but every once in a while you encounter something out of the ordinary that merits a photo-expose. Today’s topic is one such subject.
When I first started on my photography adventure, I did a lot of work locally here in our heritage cemeteries. The dichotomy of final resting places contrasted with vibrant nature really does fascinate me. A lot of folks find these sorts of images to be rather creepy and/or perhaps even a little disrespectful to those who came before us. I take a different view of the topic; I love the park settings and I find some solace in remembering those who are now gone. I tend to really spend a lot of time when we’re doing these sorts of shoots, reading all the inscriptions and trying to imagine what it must have been like for those people. I really try to understand the story of the person with the limited information that is presented. It is both sombre and uplifting at the same time in a way that I find hard to describe.
Situated just over a very old wooden bridge, halfway between two tiny towns on Vancouver Island sits the Westholme Cemetery, which belongs to the All Saints’ Anglican Church in Crofton, we believe. The cemetery is located right in the middle of an area of large farms and acreages, and is actually a little easy to miss as you pass it if you’re not paying attention. It’s a bit of an unexpected place to find a cemetery, but at the same time it’s perfect.
I just love this image. I really speaks to me of a park-like setting that is cradled in one of the most peaceful little hidden places on the island here. The textures and details on this gate are truly wonderful to behold.
The gate beckons the visitor to come in, and stay awhile. There is a fast-moving river just beyond the fence of the cemetery, and the rushing water facilitates a deep sense of peace. The only sounds to be heard are from the river and the local singing birds. If you notice, everything is a little off kilter here, a little on the crooked side of things. We really think this lends a lot of character to the place.
The Pioneer Memorial Shelter provides a very interesting dash of architecture to the setting. A lovely, quiet place to sit a spell and remember the loved ones who are interned here.
Many plaques are affixed to the inner ceiling of the structure. Many of the folks remembered here passed away well over 100 years ago now, and we believe this to be one of the older cemeteries on Vancouver Island. There was one plaque, in particular, for a little baby who was only a few days old. This was a heartbreaking find for myself and Mrs. Toad. Out of respect, we didn’t feel right to post an image of that.
It’s hard to imagine, with our 24/7 lifestyles these days, but even as recently as 100 years ago, just a generation or two, life was very difficult. I find this helps me to appreciate the life I now have.
The constant march of time is relentless. It waits for no man, woman or child. Even as we rest eternally we are surrounded by, and becoming part of, life around us. What are the stories of all these people? Had I been there with them, could I have helped someone? Made their lives a little easier, done some chores, helped in some way??… these questions constantly nag at me while we were visiting.
As we complete our journey together today, we take the meandering path to the open gate on our way out. It was a very serene visit in a truly peaceful place. I find myself both saddened and very hopeful for our own future, at the same time.
These sorts of experiences really help me to find myself in the current universe and world we find ourselves dwelling in. Things are very complex and fast-moving these days, and taking the time to visit such a wonderful little hidden sanctuary really provides some contrast that allows us to look at our own lives with a different lens, somewhat.
We really hope you have enjoyed today’s post. Thank you ever so much for taking the time to visit. If you wish, please feel free to leave us some comments as we truly love to hear from all our visitors.