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Death and Commemoration


With roughly eight months before the next Agincourt installation, a large portion of pain (of the birthing sort) is on my plate. There are so many things to do—in addition to Agincourt—and all of them must be done well. I simply don’t have the luxury of sloughing any one of them. Sigh.


Since the project’s inception eight—yes, I did say eight—years ago, Agincourt’s cemeteries have been on my mind. I know where they are; I think I know how extensive they will have become; I feel their appearance more than I see it. Indeed, this being blog entry #661, there are several earlier entries about the community’s burial grounds, many that I have revisited since they were written five, six or seven years ago. In the spirit of refreshing fading memories, here are some links that will help:

  • 2014 April 21: Last April (while I was living in Belgium and visiting some fairly spectacular examples like Pere Lachaise), I outlined a rough history of The Shades, our non-sectarian cemetery and the largest of the three.
  • 2014 April 21: Later that same day—ˆ have no recollection of this—I appended that and dropped a few names, like Moses Hemphill, for example, the county’s first embalmer.
  • 2014 April 13: The day previous (I was clearly on a roll) mentioned ideas drawn from Enlightenment notions of park and cemetery design, influential concepts like the beautiful, the picturesque and the sublime, articulated by theorists like
  • 2011 September 19 and October 03: In September and October, there was a two-part entry concerning the Flynns (Edmund FitzGerald and his wife/widow Amity Burroughs) and their respective interments at The Shades. Ed and Amity were convenient characters to explore the immortality we often link with our passing.
  • 2011 June 22: It was pleasant to revisit Recoleta, the world-class cemetery in Buenos Aires, that we’d seen earlier in the month. There was no danger of The Shades becoming anything like Recoleta, but I can dream, can’t I.
  • 2010 December 06: In every community, there are watershed events that can best be read on the tombstones of the dead: the influenza epidemic of 1918, for example. Surely there will be others of both global and local significance.
  • 2011 November 21: And just before, in late November, there was a piece on cremation as an alternative to burial.
  • 2010 September 26 and 28: These two were my celebration of palindromes.

All of this will come to bear on the LA 272 Landscape Architecture studio, because Dominic Fisher has oh so kindly volunteered to tackle several of Agincourt’s open space issues, the cemeteries not being the least of these. So it would appear that eight or nine second-year landscape students will almost literally play in the sandbox with me and give real organic form to this part of the story.

This, I am relieved to say, has been blog post #661.

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