Wednesday, June 27, 2007
I really like walking around cemeteries. It is always moving to see how people honour their dead and to read the history of a community by looking at who died and when. Real Live Preacher has an interesting post a few days ago about a cemetery he found in Mexico.
I explored a cemetery in Dollard, Saskatchewan on my last trip there that was unlike any I had ever been in. It was huge - it looked to be about 5 acres - but all the graves were along the edge and there was about 4 acres of open grass in the middle. Those white spots across the grass are actually graves - many of them were covered with rock. There were only a couple of graves right at the centre and a statue of Joan of Arc, the church bell and a plaque remembering the clergy and sisters from the parish stood next to them. I've never seen a layout like this. It just seems better to have our dead huddled together instead of spread out like this.
The church is no longer functioning, the only parishioners apparently a flock of pigeons. I didn't go in but I did take some photos of it. There is something really sad about finding a church that is no longer functioning. But so many of these rural communities are shrinking as agriculture is transformed. Some of the small communities in the west end of Alberta and the east end of Saskatchewan are experiencing a real estate boom because Calgarians are buying up inexpensive houses. Folks from Calgary have driven up prices along the BC Alberta border to the point that only the very wealthy can buy there. So now people are looking to Saskatchewan for cheap summer or retirement homes. Who would have anticipated that? It isn't Winnipeg but it is the next best thing.