Thursday, September 1, 2011

Perspective-Theme Day, September, 2011

What kind of perspective do you have on death? Do you have a religious or secular outlook on its outer  symbolic expression?  Because much of the history, culture, and customs of Hispanics in New Mexico are so heavily intertwined with Roman Catholicism, my impression is that, whether its citizens are practicing Catholics or not, their perspective on honoring death seems to have a certain homogeneity. The cemeteries in New Mexico definitely look different from the Midwest because of the terrain, but there is also a common symbolism of artificial floral decorations and fenced and enclosed markers in many of them.  I stopped at the Nambe´ cemetery and noticed frequent visitors to individual gravesites while I was there. I spoke to John Valdes in the photo below who was visiting the gravesite of his father, Esquepulo Valdes, who died at the age of 79 on June 29th of this year. John indicated that he visits and prays here often and will continue to do so. He told me quite a lot about his father and indicated that both Spanish and English are integral parts of his family and the community.  From his perspective his culture and his religion gives him a particular perspective on the ways in which a death of a loved one is honored, one apparently shared by many members of his village, judging by the number of mourners who visited the cemetery while I was there.

14 comments:

  1. Wow. This is a "heavy" interpretation of the theme of perspective, and probably the most important and profound. What amazed me most about the end of life experiences of both of my parents is how accepting and at peace they were with the process, even though they knew it was coming and neither was particularly religious.

    Cemeteries in Latin America are very touching, and Julie and I often stop to contemplate, admire and photograph them.

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  2. Interesting places cemeteries, which ever country you're in, my daughter and I often go to the cemetery where my Mum and Dad are, it's such a beautiful spot and five minutes away, but we often see people there sitting chatting away to passed loved ones, sad indeed. Lovely post Kate.

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  3. I love visiting cemeteries. I like this idea for the perspective theme.

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  4. If I died and went to a place with a lot of dead Dallas Cowboys, I would guess I went down there. My coworker would say I was up there.

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  5. What an interesting post Kate. Enjoy September, happy snapping.

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  6. I have noticed this very much living here in Arizona. The cemeteries here are so different than the ones I grew up around in Illinois. You can certainly see the different perspective the cultures have on death and the afterlife.

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  7. An interesting interpretation of the perspectives theme. Yesterday a local NPR show had guests talking on death themes. One wrote a book of famous last words and another wrote about epitaphs on gravestones. My favorite "last words" quote was "I told you I was sick."

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  8. Your last photograph shows how difficult it must be to dig a grave deep enough to bury a coffin. I don't understand the custom of visiting the grave but I wasn't brought up to it. For me, at death, the body is cast off and the soul travels on.

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  9. It is almost ten years since my father died. He left an emptiness that we still aren't able to fill...

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  10. My goodness, you have been getting around this week. Excellent shots.

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  11. Great point of view about this theme. Talking about death, I always try to remember the perspective of Carlos Castaneda:
    You have to be aware of the uselessness of your self-importance and of your personal history.
    Your death can give you a little warning, it always comes as a chill. Death is our eternal companion, it is always to our left, at an arm's length.
    How can anyone feel so important when we know that death is stalking us. The thing to do when you're impatient is to turn to your left and ask advice from your death. An immense amount of pettiness is dropped if your death makes a gesture to you, or if you catch a glimpse of it, or if you just have the feeling that your companion is there watching you.

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  12. Wonderful, just wonderful interpretation of the theme! Great post, Kate.

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  13. very interesting way to illustrate the theme :)

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