Saturday, May 20, 2006

heritage

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The Van Vlack cemetery stands on the east side of Thatcher Road. It's typical of the many family cemeteries that dot the landscape in northern Illinois. Some are located in the middle of a cornfield, and this one is surrounded on three side by fields. It is shaded by very old trees and a fence that is meant to discourage vandalism.

As is the case with most of these old cemeteries, the graves are aligned east to west, with head pointing east. I'm not sure of the history of this practice, but it is the tradition of some of the Indian tribes also.

It occurs to me that this spot would be sufficiently spooky on a moonlit night, which snow clouds skittering across the sky. Just across the road is a singularly dark and densely overgrown orchard which could be harboring any number of mythical creatures. Van Vlack does sound a bit Transylvanian, doesn't it?

2 comments:

picturegrl said...

I think the graves have to do with the Christian concept of waiting for the Second Coming. That Jesus will arrive from the east. Not sure about the Indians. :-)

srp said...

I got out my old pictures of the Shouse Chapel Cemetery where my relatives are buried and it is laid out east to west with the bodies facing east. I had never thought about it before.