Sunday, March 05, 2006

It Is A Memorial PARK.

I love taking pictures, and I have for as long as I can remember. I never had the patience or talent to study it and try to make a career or hobby that I could share with other people. I just impulsively grab the camera and take off for hours shooting random things.

The problem is, I am shy. I don't want to have people watching me doing this. I don't want to interract with them on any level. I prefer to find an abandoned something and play with that. But, more often than not, I draw the attention of some security being, if not some koo koo that, understandably, believes they've found a friend.

When I go to some historic districts, I'm frustrated by people constantly asking me "What are you doing? Why are you doing that? Is it digital or film?" I'm considering passing myself off as a student just to get them to leave me alone. Albeit a REALLY old one. What's worse, is that I don't really blame owners/security for wanting to know. If I saw some random person pointing a camera at me or my house (not that I've gone after any strangers' houses), I'd make Mr. Zoom go find out what the deal was too.

So, this combined with my total fascination for all things religious and symbollic causes me to seek out all of the graveyards, memorial parks, cemeteries, etc. I can find in order to indulge my almost compulsive need to photograph things. I can wander around for hours, and even though security keeps an eye on me, I don't find that many people question me. I am always mindful of people mourning or having a service, and I stay as far away from them as I can to maintain their privacy and right to be uninterrupted.

I had exhausted all of the ones fairly close to home, so I took a little hour road trip yesterday to a Forest Lawn Memorial Park I had located on the internet. This place was like the Disneyland of Memorial Parks. It was HUGE, and there were thousands (my estimate) of people either participating in services or just visiting. Even with all of them, there was still plenty of room for me to wander.

There was one section that was clearly set up for a service. In the back was an elaborate structure. I could see that nobody was "there" for the service yet, so I wandered back to check out the art...I guess we can call it.

While in there, I kept hearing an eerie noise. I finally realized it was birds. Birds in that white box you can see there. POOR BIRDS! Now, I don't like birds at all. But, I don't think they should be raised to be put in a box, and then thrown out in the world. How are they supposed to defend themselves?

And if I'm wrong, I'm wrong. Maybe they do just fine and poop on someone's clean car, probably mine. I don't know. But I find it incredibly strange to be mourning a life and then releasing more life to die in honor of that life.

As I was exiting that section I saw a large group assembled to release birds they had in another box. I was drawn to the event because of the dress of what I can only guess was the priests?

I continued along and noted an interesting marketing strategy for crypts:

It says "Purchased Before Need". I suppose it would be distasteful to put "SOLD" or "Reserved". "Taken" might imply someone actually took the contents.

Then I saw the best thing ever. And you won't know why it's the best thing ever until I explain it:

This will be my Dad's Father's Day Card. When my Dad and Uncle were little kids, a police man brought them home and told my grandparents that he caught them gathering flowers off of graves and then re-selling the flowers to visitors coming into the cemetery. This is one of those famous family stories that gets re-told every Christmas.

So, I'm going to send this as a card to my Dad with a note that he's going to have to find another way to supplement his retirement.


Aisha T. said...

Wow, that reselling the flowers thing is an astounding idea. As for your pics--THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL!

AndyT13 said...

Where to begin? Lovely pics and hysterical family story (as always on both of those). On the birds, they are usually wild birds captured for this particular purpose, and therefore are in no special danger of dying in the wild. Nice of you to think of them though. They say thanks. Purchased before need? I can't. I just can't comment on that. OK I will. I think it would be great if you could do that with prostitutes.
"I'm not really horny right now but here's $100. When I call you on a random Tuesday at 3:30 PM, show up and do me in the parking lot at work." OK, maybe not so much. And finally, I don't see the clothes on the preist that caught your attention, but I did notice that the guy just to the right of the flock of birds on the left looks like he's holding his dick to pee and the guy next to him appears to be watching the stream. Just me. Whoop! Cheers!

Ryan said...

Releasing of the doves is such a pleasant, symbolic ritual. It's a really great thing do at both funerals and Michael Jackson acquitals.

...a little sarcasm for you.

Those pics are THE BOMB. :)

ZooooM said...

Andy, thanks for the clarification on the birdies. I'm still not thrilled that they are kept in a box in the heat (it wasn't THAT hot, but it couldn't have been comfy in the box), but at least I know they have a fighting chance at survival.

Also, Mr. Zoom says the priests are Greek Orthodox. They have on black robes, long beards (ZZ Top!) and round hats, but not like jewish noggin covers.

Aisha, thanks for the compliment.

Ryan, your sarcasm is well received. I love that. Thank you for the complement also.