Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Respite Next Door

One of my favorite things about being in a new location is finding those special spots. They could be anything: a cafe, a quaint bookstore, or even....a cemetery. My love for cemeteries stems from Paris, when I would pick a spot on the map and spend hours wandering. At first I shied away from those large green patches on the maps until one day there was one between me and my desired cafe. Summoning my courage I briskly strolled in, only to slow immediately at the still beauty. Birds flitted across the continuous stones, from the lush lavender wisteria twining over a monument to the pooling water on a centuries-old marker. It was a secret garden, full of unexpected treasures, and I fell in love. I remember the Cimetiere du Montparnasse and the side-by-side graves of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone De Beauvoir. I clambered across the hills and crowded stones of Pere Lachaise, in search of Chopin, Colette, and Jim Morrison. I spent hours strolling, simply enjoying the stillness and the reverent beauty.

And now I've found my new respite. Last weekend Brian came home and told tale of a cemetery right down the street. So, on a sun-filled afternoon we sauntered in and once more I found myself slowing at the sight. Mountain View Cemetery, the location for many movie scene filmings, is so for a reason. Much less crowded than its parisian counterparts, this cemetery wooed me with vastness and views. Designed by Frederick Law Olmstead (of Central Park), the gently curving roads wind their way to the hilltop, with glowing sunset views of downtown Oakland and the San Francisco Bay. Brian and I are both enamored and are already planning afternoon picnics and slow walks, to continue our discussions on the romance of side-by-side stones, the incredible detail on the personal mausoleums, or the beauty of family legacy. 


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