Last Friday, I happened to be doing my drive-through living history tour, and decided to take advantage of the great weather - and the fact that the area is pretty mellow on a weekday right about now, especially with Deerfield Academy out for the summer - stopping off at the Old Burying Ground, at the end of Albany Road, which runs off the west side of Main near the Academy, to explore and take a few photos. It had been years since I had been there...indeed the memory is fuzzy...partying around Halloween...a bunch of us loaded into my sister-in-law's purple Gremlin...ach. Funny how a couple more decades along the road will bring out the reverence in someone.
This stone and tablet just inside the gate lists the names of the interred. It's a beautiful spot to rest, even for the living, with a couple of wooden benches overlooking the cemetery.
The restless stones seek their place in the earth. Where are those they mark?
Some families occupy large sections of the cemetery, a perpetual reunion. The small stones are most often children, the tears wept for them by pioneer mothers and fathers long since dry, the hearth that comforted them, centuries cold.
This mound covers the mass grave of the settlers killed in the February 29, 1704 attack on the village by 200 to 300 French soldiers and their Indian cohorts during Queen Anne's War. The marauders massacred 56 men, women and children before taking 112 villagers captive and forcing them on an unforgiving, 300-mile winter-march to Canada. 21 died on the tragic journey: 3 infants (out of 4), 4 children (out of 35), 4 men (out of 26) and 10 women (out of 26). The 21 teenagers captured in Deerfield survived the march to Canada.
The stones cast long shadows in the grass as the day begins drawing to a close. A beautiful late afternoon can be a melancholy thing, the light and sun and warmth finally just right and...fading fast, with nothing to keep it in place. Below and behind the shadows of the cemetery, the playing fields of Deerfield Academy bask in the glow of the uninterrupted sun, the bleachers empty, waiting for life.
As always, thanks for stopping by and take care.