Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Outer Banks Grave
One of my death-related projects has been searching out unusual examples of “rites of passage.” I came across one of these while investigating old graveyards on the Outer Banks.
Although the Outer Banks (aka, Hatteras Island) has a long history (“The Lost Colony”) it hasn’t many older graveyards. One exception is the town of Avon, which has an older town center. It is surrounded by miles of the beach houses that are the heart of the local economy. Located on the Sound side of the Island, it has long been a community focused on fishing. There is a church in the town that yearly has a unique service where an empty boat is launched and prayers for "the waterman’s" safety are said. There are a number of church and private grave yards under the expansive limbs of the live oak trees.
I came across the above grave site while walking the shore road in Avon. It’s a sad story, the passing of someone young, on the verge of the first year of college. Although, it’s a wonderful display; the young man’s prized possessions, a college banner, and a more spontaneous arrangement of shells, etc. I also was struck by how the live oaks stretched over the site, as though they were putting roots into the sky.
The grief of a loved one’s passing is overwhelming. It feels like the emptiness formed by that loss sucks all the life from you. Most of these actions we take in response are made to make peace with that powerful emptiness.