Gift #277: Crown Hill in Winter

As part of the weekend adventures, I took a drive through Crown Hill Cemetery since we were in the area for the stamp convention.  Crown Hill is one of my very favorite places in Indy – I love to spend hours walking and driving around – it’s beautiful at all times of year.  It was too cold to do much browsing this weekend, so most of the time was spent enjoying the scenery from the heated car.  All seasons are stunning here, but winter is particularly striking because the trees are bare and so your attention is drawn to the architectural beauty of the monuments.   Usually I’m obsessive over the trees.  One of my favorite memories of Crown Hill was a spring day that my mom and I went on a self-guided tour of the “Trees of Crown Hill, Part 1.” Crown Hill is home to a phenomenal arboretum and there’s an impressive collection of trees from all over the world.  But during this time of year their stark silhouette is a poetic accompaniment to the ornate markers laid in memories of loved ones.  Here are some pictures of my favorite monuments.

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The entrance to Crown Hill is a stunning facade of Gothic architecture.  I love the triptych appearance.

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I’m fascinated by these tree sculptures that function as grave markers.  This is a particularly lovely example – there’s a perching bird on top, with wings outstretched.  Ivy and vines grow up the bark, often entwined with an anchor, which alludes to the Biblical analogy of Christ as the “anchor of our hope of salvation”  If you look closely, you’ll see ferns and lilies at the base of the tree, additional references to a future resurrection and eternal life.

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This last photo is one of my favorites – I’ve photographed her many times.  I love this angel.  She is so expressive and delicately carved.  Just look at the folds on her dress!  Her hands are held outward, but you may notice that her left hand is gone.  It has crumbled off with the passing of time.  Crown Hill has a heritage foundation that works to repair and preserve the monuments and she is on the list to fix soon.  I think it’s good that they take care of the grave sites and honor the memories of those interred here, but I kind of like the monument in its decayed state.  She’s a silent witness to the fact that grief itself is a temporary thing; that death is a shadow, not the reality; and that we look forward in hope to a renewed world where “death will be no more and there will be no more mourning, crying, or pain, for the former things have passed away” Rev.21:4

Blessings to you,

Sarah

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