Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Left in Remembrance?


Last June I had a wonderful, if brief trip through the Cemetière du Montparnasse in Paris with my friend Mary Gilbert from Cincinnati. Mary is a devoted Francophile and docent at the Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinatti. While we were there I noticed pebbles arranged in circles on many of the grave stones. Mary explained that it is a Jewish custom to leave a stone when you visit. Yesterday I stopped by the Union Hill Cemetery for another look around. This nut atop a marker reminded me of that.

24 comments:

Bibi said...

Lovely photograph. Without appearing irreverant, I wonder if the 'nut' was purposely placed instead of a stone! Can't imagine that there are no stones nearby... Maybe the departed had a great sense of humor!

Julie said...

Like the shape and colour of the nut in comparison with the lichen. Nice textures ...

Babooshka said...

I like Bibi's humourous thoughts. I have seen many things left at gravestones now, but as you probably appreciate from my rants about litter louts, it's hard here for me to distingush that poignant memento from someone's thoughtless litterng.

B SQUARED said...

I think it is a wonderful custom.

Tom said...

I've seen stones like this left on top of certain graves and wondered... I have just been to google and read about the custom... I do like it when I can visits a great blog like yours.. see beautiful images and learn something as well... excellent post.

Tom

Maya said...

That is cute! I guess they didn't have a stone handy...

altadenahiker said...

Or this person was a friend to wildlife?

Ken Mac said...

or perhaps an absent minded squirrel?

Daryl said...

This is true, small pebbles left atop headstones to show someone visited, someone cared. My mom used to say 'please dont do that to my grave when I am gone, I think it weighs down the already heavy stone'
So when we visit her and dad we leave behind these very tiny metal hearts and I always say 'this isnt heavy, mom'

Mary said...

Awww...thanks for the plug Virg. I'm so glad that I've been a positive influence on you - at least when it comes to cemeteries!
Your post is timely because today I plan to take a stone (that I picked up from Place des Vosges) to place on my Soul-Mother's marker.
I'll be sure to tell her about all the fun that we had in June!
xx,
M

Janet Kincaid said...

Cool photo, V.

In religious parlance, the stone left behind as a remembrance is called an ebenezer. You're probably familiar with the hymn "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing." In the second stanza, it says:

Here I raise my ebenezer
Hither by Thy help I've come.
And I hope by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home.

Virginia said...

J,
That's a favorite hymn of mine. Thanks for that.

Mar,
Your influence has worked miracles!HA

Daryl,
I love that story!

KM,
You're probably right on with that. That's waht I imagined happened.

JM said...

Lovely and full of meaning! Great catch, V.!

Marie-Noyale said...

Hope a squirrel does not stop by...
a pebble is safer if you want it to stay longer..
Love Bibi's idea!

Char said...

i remember that custom from the movie Schindler's list and since then, i try to do it when i go to a loved one's grave.

Jacob said...

Maybe it was left by a Jewish squirrel.

The leaving of stones is indeed an old Jewish custom, and a good one!

Lovely, artistic photo!

Virginia said...

Jacob,
What a great thought. A Jewish squirrel...I like that thought! I'm so glad you still have a blog left for me to visit my friend. I'm on your new one. Please keep stopping by. You crack me up..pun intended!
V

robert said...

Interesting conversation. May I join? The hymn quotation, "Here I raise mine Ebenezer-- / Hither by Thy help I'm come" is from a great hymn by Robert Robinson (1735-1790).

Ebenezer is a Hebrew word meaning stone of help. It comes from an incident in the Old Testament when Samuel the prophet set up a memorial stone in Israel, calling it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far the Lord has helped us" (I Sam. 7:12). It was to be a reminder of God's goodness in the past that would encourage the people to keep trusting Him for the future.

So there you are. (Maybe more than you ever wanted to know!) You can learn more about the hymn and its author on my daily blog, Wordwise Hymns for June 9th.

Petrea said...

Gorgeous shot of such a little thing. Such a little thing so full of meaning! I never knew any of it. Now I know a better way to commemorate a visit next time I go. Thanks, y'all.

Virginia said...

Well thanks Robert for that interesting info! Please keep stopping by!

Petrea,
Hope the fires are settling down in you area. I need to blog visit all my So. Cal friends and get the latest updates.

Virginia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Petrea said...

This thing is moving, V--not settling down, but no longer threatening our immediate area. It still threatens others, though. There is better containment this evening (38%).

Come on over and visit, if you can stand the heat! But I'd rather visit Birmingham!

this too will pass said...

delightful photo and a lovely sentiment

AMIT said...

Its a wonderful picture but exactly what it is?

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