Graveyard ruminations

I’m sad to see gravestones in Swedish cemeteries being taken down and removed, for lack of someone to care for them, or perhaps more correctly, pay for someone else to care for them. And I get it. I guess. Someone has to pay the price for it, and all that.

But still. Having spent a few precious minutes of peace and quiet at the wonderful graveyard of St Kenelm’s church in Enstone outside Oxford, I still mourn the fact that Swedish cemeteries are such images of straight lines, well kept graves, and neatly tended shrubs and hedges.

Because the magic get’s lost somewhere along the way. I love burial grounds, and perhaps that’s an oddity in itself (although luckily I know I have several friends who join me in this oddity. I am not alone!), but the real magic of a cemetery is never as well experienced as in a gloriously unkept cemetery found in such number on the British Isles (including Ireland).graveyardsLush greenery, old gravestones, where the writing is all but impossible to read, tipped over gravestones, broken ones, in all manner of disarray. Hundreds of years old graves with a fresh bouquet of flowers and a burning candle on it. Some clearly forgotten. Birds chirping away, the dapples of the sun through the branches of a tree, insects buzzing, a dog barking in the distance.enstone graveyardExperiencing such peace and calmness, my soul settling down into the bosom of my heart, taking it in, all of it. I sense love in the air at cemeteries. Perhaps that seems strange, but then again, grief is love with a twist of sadness to it, right? Looking at myself, I cry for those I’ve lost in this world, because I love them and miss having them around in the form I’ve grown used to. Walking around on a cemetery I feel closer to those who are no longer here physically. Memories of times gone by sweep through me, of laughter, conversations, smells and sounds of my childhood tickle my senses, making me believe, for a split second, that I am sitting at the kitchen table of my Momo, drinking a glass of her homemade pink saft…

Oh sweet memories.

I am grateful for having lived a life which has created a grand library of sweet memories to ruminate upon.

Podcast 39/52 – Chickensoup for the soul

Thursday to Sunday have been a long enjoyable chickensoup for the soul-moment for me, as I’ve been travelling in England with my choir. England have greeted us with the most magnificent fall weather, and we’ve taken in the sights, sounds and smells of Oxford and its surroundings. On Saturday we sang in Enstone parish church of St Kenelm’s, and it was a joy. Good accoustics and an attentive audience, including both a touch of royalty (as the Swedish princess Margareta attended, being a resident of Enstone) as well as one sweet soul who let out the most appreciative ahhh at the end of each song. (And no, it wasn’t someone in pain, trust me, I know the difference!)On Sunday (today that is) we will sing in the service at 11 am in St Paul’s chuch in Covent Garden, also known as the actor’s church, as well as give a repeat concert at 1 pm.On account of all this music, as podcast tip 39/52, I wanted to share a special episode of On Being with you, the one featuring Yo-Yo Ma, world-reknown cellist. And, as it turned out, an extremely interesting human being, with such a great knowing of why he does what he does. 

I’ve listened to this episode, both the edited as well as the uncut version, many times, and each time I am left with the most lovely sensation of deep inner calm coupled with a great appreciation for the wisdom available to us all. Yo-Yo Ma personifies this for me, and I hope you will take the time to listen. And don’t be fooled by all this talk of music, it’s definitely a conversation spanning a wide array of life, including music, but really centering on Yo-Yo Ma’s love and interest of humanity.

Music is what happens in between the notes, Yo-Yo Ma says, and I can only agree. In between the notes, my soul is restored, my mind can take leaps of joy as well as sorrow, and it is truly chickensoup for the soul. For me, listen to, or creating, music is definitely one of my favorite pastimes to sooth as well as vigorate my soul. What’s the best chickensoup for your soul?