You could hear your own heartbeat, the air was so still. A sense of trepidacious curiosity overcomes the feeling that you are trespassing in someone’s most private place.
And so our adventure begins in the Saint Andrew’s Anglican Cemetery located just behind Saint Andrew’s Church in Courtenay, BC. This post is a follow-up article to our photoblog “St. Andrew’s Anglican Church” which showcased a historic and culturally significant church on Vancouver Island.
Nestled deep in a protected Garry Oak grove sits this quite little resting place. As Mrs. Toad and I wrapped up our shoot of the church itself, we found ourselves drawn to spend a little time in the cemetery enjoying the peace and serenity. It was a chance to take a moment to remember those who came before us.
As mentioned in our post featuring the church itself, the church and cemetery were founded originally in 1877. This was the first church in the immediate area, resulting in it being labelled the “Mother Church” for this part of our island.
Life was difficult in the mid 1800’s in Canada. Winters were brutal and the terrain was raw. It was therefore of little surprise to see so many markers from this period, and some designated the final resting place of people who were very, very young. Too young.
A warm golden light draped the grounds during our visit, bringing a little warmth to a place usually left cold. The church itself peeks up above the ridge-line, producing an interesting shape against the horizon.
Some of the ornate details are so absolutely wonderful, at times it leaves the visitor forgetting about their immediate surroundings. There is, after-all, beauty in many things if only you look for it.
Our ties to our past are strong. Colorful blue spring flowers adorn the gentle sloping hillside, creating a sense of beauty and renewal. Gentle shadows from the huge trees that live here produce really wonderful elements of interest to enjoy. Light is the opposite of darkness, immediately lifting your spirits as you stand quietly and take in the energies that surround you.
A voice beckons from nearby. Mrs. Toad finds a special marker that has caught her eye.
“This poor lady was a beloved wife and mother. She died younger than I am today. I wonder why?”
I say nothing as I reach to put my arm around my lovely wife, taking in for a moment the joy I feel in my deep love for her. At least we’ve got today, and with any luck, tomorrow… life is short, remembering this is of the utmost importance.
Some of the grave-sites have elaborate and intricate markers. Others are worn by the winds of time and are almost illegible. This doesn’t make our connection with these people any less real, it just means that time is gently blowing over our minds and spirits, slowly eroding the material elements that we can see and touch today. The memories hold no less meaning today than they did yesterday, they are just a little different.
As we turn to leave, we realize that this place is beautiful. I take Mrs. Toad’s hand and we walk out together. At times I am left wondering if these experiences we have aren’t meant to help us remember what’s important today. Never take pause when you are about to tell your beloved how you feel, time is short here and life is fleeting. I find if you live life to the fullest by following this rule, you will always feel joy and love in your heart and you will appreciate all that surrounds you.
Nothing could be simpler.
Thank you for your kind visit to today’s post. As always, we encourage everyone to leave us any comments that you may have, as we love to hear from all our visitors. Until next time, my friends, best wishes.