3 on the Road: Springtime at Natchez City Cemetery
NATCHEZ, MS (Mississippi News Now) - The City Cemetery in Natchez is actually a popular tourist destination. And when spring begins to bloom it's a popular place for photographers, too.
Most of my photographer buddies tell me that daybreak is THE time of day to take pictures. It's the way the light of day chases away the last of the shadows of night that makes dawn so interesting. Shifting light patterns emerge that aren't there later in the day when the sun's up higher.
It was the morning of the last Sunday of winter when I was in Natchez City Cemetery at daybreak to record the muted colors of fading dawn and watch the sun struggle with a low running cloud bank to see which would literally win the day. But soon the hillside is bathed in the warm light and the warmth of day.
This is an old cemetery. Since 1822 citizens of Natchez have been buried here. A few of the more notable include this poor young lady, Louise the Unfortunate. I've seen this stone a hundred times. But it was just this trip that I noticed the inscription reads, "Louise, PERIOD. The Unfortunate." I never really noticed that "period" before. It's like UNFORTUNATE was ALL she was.
Then there is the grave of 12-year-old Rosalie Beekman, the ONLY battle causality in the Civil War in Natchez. A 12-year-old girl. Quite a story. Too long for right now.
The grave of 10-year-old Florence Irene Ford who died in 1871 who has a set of concrete steps behind her headstone leading down to the coffin level. I've heard stories of why. But all of these people have been gone for so long, no one now could even remotely have known them. So how can we be certain which of the legends is correct?
The azaleas and the dogwoods were at the peak of their brief show. And the antique roses, some so rare that the only surviving plants of their type are left growing here in this cemetery alone.
As we grow older it's inevitable to feel life slipping from its youthful summer into golden autumn and ahead to bleak winter and the end. But roam the graves in Natchez city cemetery at the OTHER end of winter and see beyond, to the passing of winter as it turns back into the NEXT spring.
Walt takes us back out on the road Friday on WLBT with a visit to one of Mississippi's oldest pioneer homes near Columbia.
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