R.I.P., IRL

Two weekends ago I did what any normal person would on a pitch-perfect New England autumn afternoon, which is spend the afternoon in a cemetery.

Home to Dorothea Dix, Fannie Farmer, Buckminster Fuller, Winslow Homer, and a host of other notables, Mt. Auburn Cemetery is no normal graveyard. It’s the Rolls Royce of final resting places. This fancy monument right here marks where Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the Church of Scientology (and apparently a fan of Corinthian columns) is interred. Lady wasn’t sparing any expense on her headstone.

My favorite thing about the cemetery is actually a sign hanging on its street-facing side. “Beautiful, timeless, and still available,” it says. Just in case you were looking.

I was hoping to have all kinds of profound thoughts during my visit: about dying being the great democratizing force, the ways in which online memorials differ from marble, how cultural practices of loss have changed over the last few centuries. Instead I just had a lovely time sitting around man-made lakes and waterways. It was like Disneyland for death, but with better foliage.

I’ll have to get a huge advance on my book to afford a spot there, though. Good thing they’re still available.

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