Have you ever walked Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia? It’s an activity I’ve enjoyed on visits to Savannah throughout the last 30 years. Tall, ancient oaks are spattered throughout the grounds with wisps of Spanish moss draping a canopy over beautifully sculpted memorial stones. This time of year, the roses, azaleas, and other flowers are starting to bloom spreading bright splashes of color throughout the landscape. There are markers dating back to the early 1800s. I love to walk the area with no particular destination in mind, and something different and unique catches my eye every time.
There is a large Jewish section of the cemetery, which is quite lovely. Stones of remembrance are laid upon the grave markers, a poignant reminder of visitors paying their respects.
Along my walk, I came across a section dedicated to our American veterans.
Some think my obsession with cemeteries is odd and have even commented, “If you’ve seen one cemetery, you’ve seen them all.” In my experience, that isn’t true. It’s a quiet place to let creativity take over. Every single stone was carefully chosen by a loving and grieving family. The dates and names of the people laid to rest tell a story, which makes my imagination run wild. Some family plots record tragic back-to-back deaths. How did the survivors navigate the heartbreak of their losses? There are so many lessons about life in a cemetery. It’s easy to put myself in another’s shoes, either from the standpoint of loss or gaining motivation to make life more meaningful. It’s not a spooky place, and I’ve never seen any ghosts. It generates a great respect for those who have passed and seeking truths which can make me a better person.
It’s even more inspiring when the cemetery is exceptionally beautiful–like Bonaventure. Here are some other images from my stroll.
In Bonaventure, there are many family plots. Some have no fences or gardens, but others have ornate wrought iron gates and borders.
Bonaventure has become a tourist favorite for visitors to Savannah and some of the trolly tours will bring several people at a time. They mainly come to see Gracie, an exquisite sculpture of a young girl, the deceased six-year-old daughter of an innkeeper in Savannah. Her burial site is very popular among the locals and visitors, and people bring gifts to leave at her family plot. Because of the crowd, I avoided the area. I do have photos of Gracie from past visits before they fenced her in, but the link above from the Bonaventure Historical Society will not only show her image but explain her legend.
There are several notables buried in Bonaventure, ranging from Georgia Supreme Court judges, Confederate officers, to writers, poets, photographers, newspaper owners, and actors/actresses. There are also thousands upon thousands of un-famous people buried there who have loved and lived their lives like we do every day.
One of the most well known celebrities interred in Bonaventure is singer/songwriter Johnny Mercer.
My stroll through the cemetery was peaceful and relaxing. I came away with story ideas and a renewed motivation to create. Sometimes the best way to navigate the future is to learn what’s transpired in the past.
Do you love cemeteries? What do you learn going through them?
RandomBits is an Amazon affiliate, which helps to support this blog. Would you please consider using the following link for your Amazon shopping? It costs you absolutely nothing, and Amazon gives us a very small amount of your purchase for advertising purposes. Please click here: Amazon.