Mount Auburn Cemetery

October 11, 2010 — Usually, it’s the minorities of a culture that get ignored. However, there is one super-majority in our culture that is often just as neglected: the dead. That’s why I’ve declared October to be National Dead Awareness Month. Unfortunately, we don’t have a ribbon yet since black ones are already reserved for POWs, although I am flirting with the idea of earthworms tied in that same loop shape. However, until we figure out how to best publicly express our support for this awareness program, I suggest just going to a cemetery.

I celebrated this weekend by visiting Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, MA. Established in 1831, the 174-acre Mount Auburn is a National Historic Landmark and the country’s first garden cemetery, meaning that it was landscaped to be a pleasant destination for the living and not just an evenly rowed rot repository. Besides its large size and impressive botanical collection (thousands of trees in hundreds of varieties), Mount Auburn also has its share of famous burials, including Mary Baker Eddy, Oliver Wendell Holmes (Sr.), and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, as well as a diverse array of monuments and funerary art. From its Washington Tower, the cemetery also features one of the best views in the area of the Boston skyline and probably one of the best views from any cemetery this side of the dead in Christ rising.

So support National Dead Awareness Month. Just because we bury them doesn’t mean we have to bury them. 

Final resting place of Mary Baker Eddy,
founder of Christian Science.

Tombstone of poet James Russell Lowell.

Ah, Longfellow. You'll always be a Rodney Dangerfield joke to me.

Tombstone of author Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Statue of Nathaniel Bowditch, rockstar mathematician.

Civil War memorial. Take that, every boring soldier statue
in every town on the East Coast.

Tops of mausoleums.

Me at the top of the cemetery's Washington Tower.

View of Boston from the top of the Washington Tower.

And if you look the other way from the top of the Washinton Tower, the cemetery looks like a forest.