By Benson Hewitt
“Love is like wildflowers; it’s often founding the most unlikely places.” – Emerson
I had a conversation with several of my sisters recently concerning the condition of the now unused cemetery between Barr’d islands and Joe Batt’s Arm. Their concern was that it was falling into a state of disrepair in that old headstones were falling over, and that the grass, in many spots, needed to be cut.
Initially, I wanted to take an opposite point of view, but not wanting to be a contrarian just for the sake of it, I demurred. I have thought about it, and would like to express what is for me a very personal point of view. (How could it be otherwise? you may be tempted to ask!)
I rather like roaming through cemeteries, and please do not think that I am morbid, because of this. (In fact just this past weekend my wife and I drove down on the Baie Verte Peninsula almost purposely to drop in the cemetery in the now long-abandoned town of Tilt Cove, but more on that in a later piece.)
I spent a lot of time when growing up roaming the cemetery already mentioned. Wild flowers (and some cultivated) bloomed profusely, butterflies fluttered, bees buzzed, dragonflies hovered, field mice scurried, and birds sang. Some birds built their nests there.
The fragrance from the foliage, and even the grass, like incense, was pervasive. I don’t believe I ever saw any grass being cut. It was, of course, the era long before the gas-powered grass-cutter, and that may very well explain that. Environmentalists today would refer to the several acres it encompassed then as a small eco-system, where one thing was dependent on the other. If you cut the grass, for whatever reason, a balance is lost, and we cannot predict the outcome.
Now, having expressed that opinion, I do believe that the onus is on some group (and I may very well be part of that group) to see that a certain state of repair is maintained, and that may very well mean cutting down some excess grass and even shrubs, or making a contribution so that it may be done. Again, let me carry on with my personal thoughts. I have a memory of standing on the hill next to the cemetery on a pleasant fall day, most likely, while still a child, and seeing the grass blowing gently in the breeze, and being reminded of the hymn we may have sung in Sunday School, and written by John Hampten Gurney, “Fair waved the golden corn on Canaan’s happy shore.” That imagery would never have been produced, if someone with a scythe or a reap-hook had mowed the grass.
This brings me to another topic, somewhat related perhaps. Several weeks ago I received a letter of sorts from a committee here in the community of Fogo, saying that the Community of Fogo had been entered in an international contest for “Communities in Bloom”. I thought it extremely ambitious, but then, I thought the same last year when the community was entered in the national contest of ‘Communities in Bloom’ that that, too, was ambitious. Yet, the community won.