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field trip . Reform Presbyterian Cemetery

Last Friday I decided to take a little field trip away from my project schedule. From time to time, my camera and I go on a letters-and-numbers hunt. It’s a little habit I started back in college, and I simply enjoy documenting the written word or cypher (whether chiseled or brushed) wherever I find it.

For this hunt, I decided to visit the Reform Presbyterian Cemetery here in Starkville. This small plot of circa 1840 is wedged in between the bustle of University Drive and MS Hwy 182 — to be more precise, between the Halfway House bar and a Texaco station. It’s an odd little pocket of history in the middle of college town central. And, although the cemetery is in disrepair and many of the monuments are broken down and markings faded, I was curious to re-visit it.

Cemeteries always offer a wealth of letters and numbers — specifically, poignant but concise commentaries. Pair that possibility with fading marble, the crunch of last year’s autumn leaves, and a cool October afternoon, and you have the makings of a ripe field trip. While I try not to frequent cemeteries that often, the simple shapes of this aged one offered the week an opportunity for cool and quiet reflection. So, I thought I’d give you a first glimpse of the details I discovered.

Since I know I’ll share images of letters and numbers in future posts, I’ll simply add one to this opening collection. This mark is actually a joint where two pieces of now-broken marble were meant to connect. I couldn’t help but see the equal sign and recognize that in this place, although the engravings may differentiate between persons, a cemetery itself is the great equalizer.


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