Friday, July 13, 2012

My {Southern} Bonaventure

If you look closely at a tree, you'll notice it's knots and dead branches, just like our bodies.  What we learn is that beauty and imperfection go together wonderfully.
~ Matthew Fox

One of my absolute favorite things about photography is that it can transport you to
a different, unseen, past or forgotten moment in time.
I love being able to visually walk in someone else's shoes or share a moment from my life-in-pictures with someone who may never get to travel to the places I've been blessed to have seen.

Last year, this day exactly, July 13th, I was in Savannah, GA and more specifically I was wandering through the hauntingly beautiful, moss-draped tree canopy of the Bonaventure Cemetery.

The cemetery is a short drive from Downtown Savannah, near the end of a well-established neighborhood.

This caution sign, least of my worries, was more of a beacon. 
I love the character in the drapery of the trees in this part of the country.
Someday, I will live where trees like this are indigenous.

Even now, a year later, I have hardly posted these pictures. 
Always with intention to share them with all my friends and family, somehow they got lost in "edit" and stuck in a file, not to be resurrected until today.

I wandered the Cemetery for the better part of two hours, camera in hand. 
I took hundreds of pictures in that time.
Every row, every around the corner was a snapshot back in time.

Off the beaten path, no major roadways nearby, with hardly a breeze, as I walked around, I stepped carefully over grave markers, respecting that was on hollowed ground.
All I could hear was the hum of insects and the occasional cry of a bird overhead. 

I could attempt to describe the vastness of the row and rows of family names and plots centuries old, but as they say, "a picture is worth a thousand words."

I did not stumble upon this place by chance.
My very intention for visiting Savannah, GA last Summer was for this cemetery.

I have been in love with the South since I was a kid.
When I was a kid there was no Internet or Kindle.
There was the library, where you had to fill out a paper application to get a paper card to gain access to get inside to short-term "borrow" a book that belonged to the community.
There were books, mostly old ones, an occasional few new ones.
They were short books, there were hardbacks, there were a few on tape, but then, there were the novels.

At the ripe age of twelve, I read (devoured) Gone With The Wind.
After I spend the better part of a week turning through the used, and worn pages of that library rental, I turned it in and then I checked out the VHS tapes. 
In words and cinematography, it was Southern love at first sight. 

This gravesite is a library, rows of plots the shelves, headstones the books.
Each one bearing a name with a set of beginning and end dates, the - in between, the summation of an entire life that left me wondering what stories each of the people buried beneath the soil lived.

This place, this historical site, completely drew me in. 
I studied the faces of the sculptures, reveled in the vines that grew over markers, stood in awe underneath the trees that stood tall and surrounded this place like sentinels.

This cemetery, hauntingly beautiful and comfortably quiet, was like going back in a time untouched.

There was hardly anyone else visiting that day.
A small handful of others, adventurers, off-the-path wanderers, with their own cameras in hand {my fellow photographers, we recognized each other}.
We smiled quietly at each other as we passed in silence.

Even void of color and light, these images are beautiful.
They are both bold & delicate.
They are a question & and an answer.

"To forget one's ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without root" ~ Chinese proverb

This trip, this place, this day is one of my favorite pages in my Book of Wanderlust.

These pictures are my memory, my tribute to the history of this place, to the people buried here,
and they are my gift to you, my reader.

~ Lauren


  1. These pictures are amazing. Cemeteries always have a unique beauty to them but with that backdrop it almost doesn't look real! Great job!

    1. I plan on going was totally amazing!

  2. The pictures are gorgeous!!! Thanks so much for sharing and I am a new follower! I am visiting from the GFC blog hop and The Life of a Not So Ordinary Wife.
    Hope you have a great weekend!

    1. Thanks Michelle...I love that place!!! I'm gonna hop over and visit you now. :)

  3. Wow! Those pictures are so beautiful! I'm in love with that place already. Adding it to my "places to visit" travel list.