The COVID-19 pandemic has changed all our lives in many ways these last few months. From not being able to go to work, go to public events or even go out to dinner we have all had to adapt. Everyone has responded to the pandemic differently, but for most of us the big question (besides how to stay healthy and safe) has been, “what can I do for fun now?”
With movie theaters, sporting events, bars, arcades, malls, and many other places of leisure closed, we have all had to get creative to stay busy.
This is where cemeteries come to mind. Cemeteries are so much more than a place where we bury the dead. They are not the dark and dreary locations that we sometimes perceive them to be so there are several ways that you can enjoy a visit to a local cemetery.
Most people would not think of a cemetery as their first choice when trying to find somewhere to go. During this pandemic however, cemetery traffic has greatly increased! Why has traffic to cemeteries increased during the pandemic? There are several answers to this question, and we will highlight them below. As you read through this list, think of the quote by Pericles…“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others”.
People are going to cemeteries to exercise. With gyms and parks closed, staying active has become a challenge during the pandemic. This has brought up the question of where can I go to exercise? Using equipment at home or walking around your neighborhood can become boring. To stay active many people have taken to visiting cemeteries. Walking, jogging, and bike riding have all been extremely popular activities recently. Flat paved paths, well-groomed grass and relatively private areas are all features of most cemeteries. Features like these, as well as others, have led many active people to turn to cemeteries as a place to get some exercise.
Walking your dog. People are not the only ones who want to find a way to stay active. Being cooped up inside all day is especially hard for most dogs. If you live in a large city you might not have a neighborhood to walk your dog, and with dog parks being closed it has been especially tough to find a place to take your dog. Cemeteries have become a popular destination for dog owners, for the same reason that people are going there to exercise. Please check though, to make sure your local cemetery does not prohibit pets. Always remember to be respectful of the cemetery and its visitors as you walk your dog.
The hidden history at local cemeteries. Many local cemeteries are a treasure trove of local history. Whether it’s a local businessperson’s grave, a statue carved by a famous artist, or the site of where a movie was filmed, there is a lot of history that can be found at a cemetery. With people having more free time on their hands during the pandemic, some people have decided to study their genealogy and trace their roots. What better place to do that than a cemetery where you can visit the graves of your ancestors? You can find entire families in a short time as you work your way through hundreds of years’ worth of lives and history. The names, and dates on the monuments are a way for you to connect with those that were born before you.
A cemetery can be an outdoor art museum. Cemeteries might not house art by Da Vinci, Van Gogh or Salvador Dali, but that does not mean there is not artwork to be found. Cemeteries are often filled with different and unique works of art that you would not find in a museum. There are statues, stained glass windows and monuments that are absolute works of art. Each of these tell a story much like any painting or sculpture would do.
A quit place of reflection. Sometimes we all just need a quiet place to stop and think. Cemeteries are a great place for this, as they are usually very peaceful and quiet. With paths to walk on, grass to lay on and often benches to sit, you can find many different areas where you are able to just be outside and reflect. Cemeteries are a great place to think about what life has to offer. Being surrounded by those that have been born before us allows you to think about what type of legacy you want to leave behind. This type of reflection can allow you to set up goals and choose a path that will allow you to achieve your dreams.
A place to say goodbye. Sadly, one of the many changes due to the pandemic is the rule of no large gatherings. Though funeral services are still being held, like everything else, they have had to add restrictions. This has made it hard for some families to have the kind of services that they wanted for their loved one. People have had to pick and choose who gets to attend the services, and sadly some have been left out. As a way to adapt to the smaller service sizes and restrictions, many people have chosen to visit their loved one’s gravesites individually or in small groups shortly after their loved one’s death. This is a way they can take one on one time that they wanted to pay their respects and be restriction free.
These are just several of the most popular reasons why people have been more inclined to visit cemeteries during this pandemic. Cemeteries are remarkably interesting when you take the time and opportunity to truly visit them. The next time you are trying to think of something to do, perhaps consider visiting your local cemetery, not only can you get exercise, but you might even get a lesson in history or see beautifully crafted artwork.
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