Friday, February 26, 2010

The Church at the End of the Road

Yesterday, I threw on my shoes, coat, scarf and gloves and ran screaming out the door. Metaphorically speaking, that is. After seven hours spent mostly in front of the computer, I had to get out of here.

I only had time for a short walk. Which, was good because when I reached the end of my football-field-length driveway and turned the corner, an arctic wind, at 20+ miles an hour, struck me head on. I took a few steps and almost turned around. Then, thought of my sister, Cheryl, who walks in 60 mph winds. In the winter. In Wyoming. So, I pulled my hood over my head, wrapped my scarf around it, hunkered down in my coat, and carried on.

I live at the end of New Hope Drive where it crosses Bailey Waters and becomes New Hope Circle. Seems all the roads in North Georgia are either named for a church or for a person that lives on that road. As you might guess, New Hope Church sits on that circle. My driveway lets out between it and Bailey Waters Road.

It's an old church. Baptist. Established in 1848. They only have two services a month, on the first and third Sundays, the third Sunday service is at 7:30 in the morning. I suspect that's a holdover from earlier times when farming was the norm.

After walking around the circle and down Bailey Waters, I turned around just shy of Hwy 52, grateful to have the wind at my back.Retracing my footsteps, I detoured through the small cemetery, reading headstones and markers as I rambled.

Nearing a tent covering the mound of a grave new enough that I could still smell the blanket of wilting flowers, I let the tears that were threatening, flow. As I read the marker I felt my own pain of losing a loved one. A mother. A father. A brother.

There was a marble bench nearby, so I sat for a while, marveling that the stone didn't feel so cold. Eventually, I lay back and watched the clouds, though it inward was that I looked. Was something current prompting the tears? Finding nothing, I sat up and called a California friend that I hadn't talked to in a while. We passed pleasantries and nothings, then I said goodbye. To the friend and to the bench.

I'm fascinated by cemeteries, especially old ones. My grandparents, my father, my brother, a niece, greats and others are buried in one in Villa Rica. I never much cared for it and maybe that's why. But there is a silent sacredness I feel, a special bond to the departed, a magnetic pull that draws me in.

Many of the those buried in New Hope Cemetery, mostly couples, were born in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Interesting that they lived to ripe-old ages, 80s, 90s, 100. And, most of the couples were married for a really long time. I wonder if they were baptized in that church, or married, or both. It's certain they were laid to rest here. The sentiments on the headstones give me pause. And a tiny insight in to lives gone by.

As I walked back down my long driveway, I thought how different their lives must have been. I'm fairly certain they raised their own food, eating lots of ripe fruits and vegetables from the garden, chickens, eggs and hogs they'd raised on their farms. Milk and butter straight from the cow, never pasteurized. Unadulterated water from the wells they'd dug, no plastic bottles. The air they breathed wasn't full of pollutants, the sky not colored by contrails. They weren't bombarded by EMF's from electrical wires, or telephones or cells. Their planet wasn't orbited by satellites, and didn't look from outer space like a dog with fleas (Click on the link below to see for yourself.).

No wonder they lived and prospered long, and celebrated 70-year anniversaries with beloved spouses.

My planet is polluted, but soon I'll be eating vegetables raised in my own garden, pesticide-free. And chickens (and their eggs) that roam my yard. I'll have access to unpasteurized goat milk and cheese, beef raised in pastures where they roam and graze. My water is from a well, no plastic bottles for me.

Once more, I am glad that I moved here. Each day I am more sure of my decision. And I'm happy that Dawsonville found me.

Earth's Satellites, Doesn't it Look Like a Dog with Fleas? It me.


Larry Kollar said...

Holy moly, we are neighbors! I'm visiting my mom in Florida for the week, but I'll have to walk over that way and meet you guys when I get back.

There's an even older cemetery nearby, long walk but a short bike ride. Go down to 52, turn left, about 1/4 mile on the right. It's a little dirt two-track going back into the woods, and the cemetery is fenced. It's not well-marked, sometimes you can see a sign at the edge of the trees but I think it's not always there.

Rick said...

I read your post with interest; I too enjoy visiting cemeteries. Much as yourself, reading the stone's inscriptions/epitaphs gives a small glimpse into earlier lives lived in that particular area of God's Green Earth. Also, interesting is the date of this post; it is my Dear Mother's birthday. I usually visit her grave on that day; but this year I did not. I must make amends. Rick

Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré said...

FAR, we found it! I missed it on Friday, driving east on 52, but saw the sign on the way back. Yesterday, we parked at the road and walked up that steep!! hill. Very cool. It's not pretty, very small. Appears to be a two-family plot, some of the headstones were from the 1700s, the rest 1800s. Some were so old you could barely make out the inscription. Thank you for the info. Don't know if you know this or if they may be new, but there are No Trespassing signs all along 52 now. We ignored them and didn't get caught, thank goodness.

Rick, my mom's birthday is 2/14. She died in 2006 and was cremated. I think of her often, especially on special occasions, like her birthday. I think probably, for them, just knowing we're thinking of them is enough. Sometimes I buy flowers and set them on the table, and think of her when I see them. Other times, I plant something. You reminded's time to do that. Thank you.

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