Today we walked on the other side of Braes Bayou from where I usually ride the trike, the same bayou along which the cemetery that I often ride in is located. Forest Park Lawndale has got to be the largest cemetery in Houston; it goes on and on; the gravestones themselves seem to be the dots that connect up swaths of surreal-green grass and century-old oaks. Many cemeteries are ironically verdant, but this one takes it to ridiculous proportions. And the bayou bordering the northern boundary just adds that much more vibrance, flora & fauna, and beauty.
Walking on the far side of Braes Bayou this morning Luke & I found what appears to be the place where unclaimed, damaged or wrongly inscribed gravestones are discarded by Forest Park. Some of them have been there so long that soil and leaf & vine ground cover has embraced them almost beyond detection. Some are free of any text, some bear partial names or quotes, some are cleaved, distressed with hairline fissures snaking across them.
These forgotten gravestones seem so desolate to me, bereft. I’m not sure why, but a loved one’s name on a slab of granite heaped with an army of other broken and misfit remembrances just feels wrong. Like a crime against grief or memory.
I don’t find graveyards scary or spooky like some people do, but if ever a place connected to the remembrance of the departed deserves to be haunted it is this bayou-front lot filled with cold freckled granite, etched with the names of somebody’s parents and lovers and children, crazed with ants, strangled by weeds, festooned with garbage, littered with rusted lengths of twisted rebar strewn about & in between the cast off elegies.