Saturday, December 24, 2016

City of Angels


In this Christmas season, lots of angels appear in lots of the decorations. We decided to spend a little time in the Coburg cemetery to visit a whole city of angels.

This large cemetery is fairly filled with graves but there is almost no grass and extremely few spots with weeds. There is just bare ground everywhere. Being used to the US where cemeteries are mostly manicured lawns, it is an adjustment to see a place that is filled with sand, rock and rubble between the graves. In the midday sun, the usual smell of grass and sweet flowers is replaced with a more earthy odor. This, perhaps more appropriate smell, reminds me of visiting Highgate Cemetery in London and poking my head in the crypt. There, very intensely, I was confronted with a smell that felt like death and I suddenly understood the origin of the Victorian gothic horror story. In Coburg, this sensation was only a faint whisper, but the memory was touched.


Oddly enough, like the high Victorian cemetery at Highgate, the Coburg Cemetery sits on a hill from which the city can be seen. Of course, at Highgate, there are lots of trees making a clear view difficult. But when it new and freshly cleared, it was visible.


As you expect, many of the angels here are broken and worn.


Some are missing limbs.


But all are sad. That is their job in the place... to express endless, overwhelming sadness.


In spite of this, I found it to be an interesting place filled with lives well-spent and family tales across the generations.


Not exactly the sort of angels normally associated with the holiday season, but it is a place of peace and calm, if not joy, and it is a welcome respite from the traffic and bustle of the city.

Have a great Christmas. The angels are watching over us all.