Thursday, November 30, 2006

The cemetery of the living

Both the wired and wireless connections at the dorm are spotty and slow. I'm lucky if I make it through a couple of pages of surfing without the connection dropping. Thus, updates here will come in bunches when I plug the laptop into the schools media center connection.

On the morning I arrived late and missed my first class, I walked from my dorm over to a cemetery. I wanted to get to know the neighborhood and it seemed like an interesting destination. When I arrived, I found high brick walls surrounding a park with many trees scattered through out. Most of the headstones or memorials were from the mid-19thC and there were a lot of professors and teachers given high honors after their passing.

The walls had several openings where people were cutting through on their way to other streets. Just about in the middle, ironically, near a the tomb of a child, was a group of mothers with four children between them. As the mothers talked, the children played on the pathway, with each other and with the nearby garbage can. I've noticed that Germans are more free in allowing their children to walk about tethered as soon as they can so it's kinda nice to see really young kids at play in their miniature adult-like fashions.

When I decided to take a shot of the kids, I really was just trying to not get caught and accused of anything unsavory. But look close. I snagged the moment just as two of the boys are pushing the third against the can. I just imagine the little girl in the foreground saying, "that's right boys, rough him up until he hands over all his gummibears".

As I walked through the cemetery towards the path circling the inside, I started seeing the occasional jogger. These weren't any joggers, but out of the half-dozen or so, only two were even close to qualifying as young. Again, it seemed ironic that the old would partake in an activity that is intended to keep one healthy and living longer, if not better, in a place that is a perpetual reminder of the one fate no one can escape. Is it because of that reminder that they are spurred on to jog? Is it out of a sense of defiance? Or is it merely a convenient place to use as a track? It doesn't matter a whole lot. After all, cemeteries are for the living in more than one way.

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