Archive for February 15th, 2011

Whitney Monument

I’ve always loved winter. My mother was a ski instructor for a number of years, and Dad is now Ski Patrol after many years as an instructor. Some of my enthusiasm for cold weather has dissipated now that I am the one who has to drive in it, but I still can’t deny that it looks beautiful. I spent my college years living in the snow belt and experiencing lake effect snow at Edinboro University, and I was by some strange twist of fate crowned Snow Queen my sophomore year (possibly the only one – I’m not sure that festival or the absurdly named Snow Ball dance happened ever again).

Broken tombstone

But in the cemetery, my enjoyment of the beauty of snow and ice is tinged on the edges with the knowledge that it could be damaging the stones. Snow and ice aren’t the only things that wear away at tombstones, but they dig at me because I so enjoy the look of them.

Louise Behnke tombstone

I know that as the snow melts and drips down into tiny crevices, if the temperature happens to dip to freezing again, the water will freeze and expand and push just a little at the stone, weakening it from the inside.

Damaged Monument

It is a bittersweet beauty to walk through an old, snow dusted cemetery and see the white blanket draped across the broken, cracked tombstones.

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