Although taphophiles everywhere do share a distinct set of characteristics, each is possessed of individual preferences, quirks, and the like. Some care only to stumble upon exceedingly worn bits of slate bearing centuries old dates beyond the walls; while others seek to bear witness to nothing save the most magnificent examples of modern artistry. There are those whose adventures must be shared with a grouping of like-minded seekers; while others wish only the solace of their own company along their quests. Some enter bearing worn bits of charcoal and rustling sheets of paper while others rely on a lens to capture each nuance; still others enter with palms laid bare, seeking to leave with nothing other than the residual effects of the quiet aura within. To some, only the small, forgotten burial grounds hold any interest; while others care only to lose an entire day meandering along garden-style, Victorian paths. To some, it is their Monday Night Football – inescapable and fervent fodder for the water cooler; to others, it’s naught but a closely guarded secret.

Some find themselves possessed of a sense of responsibility to document each stone to the best of their ability in the interest of sharing that information with seekers of their history; some are possessed of a maddening inability to focus long enough to even estimate the number of graves visited in a single jaunt. Some call themselves gravers, others crawlers, still others rabbits… and some hold titles known only to themselves. Some have no regard for the current mood of Mother Nature; while others venture out under clear skies only during the freshness of spring, warmth of summer, or vividness of fall.

Digressing for a moment… I have to say in all honesty that I can’t confirm whether anyone outside my own, miniscule circle of former associates actually refers to themselves as crawlers. At the risk of lending a modicum of credence to the notion that taphophiles are a tad freaky, I must confess that in our case the term “crawler” does have somewhat ghoulish roots. In high school, several of us took it upon ourselves to read and host our own mini-book club discussion about “Helter Skelter” while loitering within one of our favored local graveyards. I’m sure I need not go into details about the book itself as it’s a fairly good bet you’re all acquainted with it… suffice it to say that our moniker of “crawlers” was indeed born out of the term “creepy crawl” favored by the Manson girls. It stuck, and I have no excuse beyond the fact that we were young, silly, and thought it just sounded cool. :shrug:

Getting back on topic, within in this blog my own quirks, penchants, and preferences are quickly unveiled. I am a solitary crawler, ambling comfortably along the sunny garden paths toting my Nikon lens in search, primarily, of weathered, lichen bearing statuary of the aged, formidable, Victorian sort. Comfortably and sunny being of particular importance, as my desire to crawl is sadly hampered by a bum back and hip that require the weather to be warm and cooperative lest my crawl end abruptly and painfully after but a brief, unsatisfying stroll. One who, despite my best intentions in equipping myself with the proper materials to note essential details as I traverse these quiet expanses, never seems to leave with a single stroke appearing upon the page.

I have to reiterate, however, that my desire to crawl was not sparked by my current preferences. Rather, I am a product of those tiny, worn slates within those tiny, forgotten graveyards. It was only through time and exploration that my focus shifted. Today, I must confess that I desire all that the Mt. Cambridge’s in our midst have to offer. Yet, still, even the most grandiose of cemeteries offers up the wee Lillys and Willys; with their sad epitaphs lamenting the loss too soon of these fairest of blooms. So, despite the oft uncontrollable urge to gaze upward and outward to scan the landscape for the next remarkable piece of statuary, my eyes are still known to be drawn downward. To seek the worn, carved slates and memorials that gave life to my favorite past time… wandering beyond the gates, amidst the stones; lost in the dead’s rural oases.

Until next time… I hope you’ll embrace your own quirks and proudly crawl with care my friends.

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