The graveyard just outside Bodalla proves to be both a history book and a somewhat out of date newspaper. An ostentatiously large plot sporting a large flat gravestone and surrounded by a moat is the resting place of Thomas Sutcliffe Mort, the founding father of the Bodalla dairy industry and a leader worldwide in the development of refrigeration. Another plot houses a neighbour of ours: his passing happened while we were away for a year, and therefore was no longer anyone’s news to tell by the time we returned. We did not know.
I called into the graveyard, prompted by my ramble around the Tilba cemetery with Kate, to consider spending five minutes with a grave. Once I was there I realised there was something perverse about photographing the grave of someone local. But then I saw a tumbledown wooden cross with no identification, and decided that I may even be honouring this anonymous person by paying brief attention to their resting place.
The cross was lying in flourishing grass and draped with worn artificial flowers: the timber of the cross was also worn and weathered. A casuarina needle lay across a faded rose.
Who was this unknown person? A woman, I would guess, dead a longish time. A governess? Or some other kind of lonely employee? A grandmother? A spinster? A woman dead in childbirth? A child snatched by one of those long-gone diseases, or drowned in the lethal Tuross? These plastic flowers post-date these possibilities, and I rein in my imaginings.
I just don’t know, and such speculations may well be disrespectful. But someone cared enough to place permanent flowers on your cross. Whoever you are, rest in peace. and know that one winter Friday afternoon a woman not that far from death herself spared you a thought.
This post was inspired by DesleyJane’s RegularRandom challenge. This week her mouth-watering photos feature one cup cake. Go and have a look and be tempted.