Picture This: In a Graveyard in Aberdeen

by Keith Savage · 8 comments


My sole day in the Granite City before sailing north to Shetland is an hallucination of sunlight and sleep deprivation. I stumble into lush parks where college students strum acoustic guitars and pass someone in a giant chicken costume. Seagulls circle in cloudless skies over the harbor heavy with the scent of a baking sea. There are Chinese restaurants and off-track betting shops, cobblestones, a mercat cross, and a white palace from the mind of Vance or Zelazny. I pass an old man sketching, his cane balanced against the bench he sits on. I am sun-blind as I glide between cement walls into a small, ramshackle graveyard in the heart of Aberdeen.

This is a familiar sight, all the gravestones, tombs, and crypts cheek by jowl as if the dead might get lonely. Then: A glowing green and purple plant, nearly hidden. I’m no botanist. I needn’t be to understand the metaphor. We know so little of the way we move between and cross over. We make small monuments to trap time and memory in stone that has been sealed with tears. But I think there are signs all around us, like this one, that we are the only ones trying to hold back the departed. Thankfully, in that we are powerless.


KenNo Gravatar December 6, 2012 at 10:52 AM

Beautiful, thought and image.

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RyanNo Gravatar December 7, 2012 at 8:43 AM

I have always found myself wandering old cemeteries,
For some reason they fascinate me.

Beautiful words and descriptions mate! Felt like I was there.

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar December 7, 2012 at 9:47 AM

It’s amazing to see three- and four-hundred-year-old gravestones in Scotland’s cemeteries. Greyfriars in Edinburgh is especially noteworthy. Very pensive, eerie place.

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ChrisNo Gravatar December 13, 2012 at 7:28 AM

Love the photo mate

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar December 22, 2012 at 9:56 AM

Thanks Chris!

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Gayla~No Gravatar December 22, 2012 at 9:41 AM

“We make small monuments to trap time and memory in stone that has been sealed with tears. But I think there are signs all around us, like this one, that we are the only ones trying to hold back the departed. Thankfully, in that we are powerless.” Haunting words, these, yet so very true.
Cemeteries are beautiful places, I love them. Customs surrounding cemeteries were part of my childhood in Louisiana (USA) and I find it very interesting to visit cemeteries in my travels. One fascinating graveyard we visited recently is up on a hilltop in Vernazza, Italy. It’s a treacherous hike to the cemetery, but so amazingly peaceful.
That photo is dramatic and really expressive. Great job!

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar December 22, 2012 at 10:09 AM

Vernazza in Cinque Terre? Loved that town! Appreciate the comment, Gayla. Cemeteries provide such unique feelings – they always bring unique thoughts to mind.

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Gayla~No Gravatar December 22, 2012 at 10:17 AM

Vernazza in Cinque Terre is the one. Gorgeous place.
I imagine visiting the cemeteries in Scotland would be quite the experience, and the older the better.

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