|St. Alban's Court|
|Mausoleum Ridge, Mt. Moriah in winter|
|Summer view of Mausoleum Ridge|
see map) on the Cobb’s Creek side cleared of brush and looking the way a cemetery SHOULD look. Not only that, but we found a beautifully cared for family plot nearby, trimmed nicely with Christmas decorations at the top of the hill. This, in the midst of thousands of other graves covered with dead weeds and fallen trees.
Edinburgh, Scotland. Apparently, many Scottish cemeteries are in the same deplorable condition as Mt. Moriah.
Climbing out of the tangles of vines and dead trees, we entered a clearing, and heard the dogs. Then we saw them. A small pack – three maybe. I tried to photograph them, but when I put the camera up to my eye, they darted into the high dead thicket. The barking continues as vehemently as ever. We head off in the opposite direction and talk about how stun guns and mace are illegal to buy or carry in the city of Philadelphia (though you can buy them in neighboring counties).
|Pet carrier, headstones in background|
We spend a few hours first on the Cobb’s Creek side, then make our way over to the Kingsessing Avenue side. I’ve been here so many times I’ve lost my early, wide-eyed reaction to this overgrown wrecked hull of a cemetery. Still, I’m surprised at the piles of deer droppings here and there. You’d think with the dense woods, this place would be lousy with deer, but I’ve never seen one.
I had this notion of an action hero called “The Hook,” who sits down with Bob at this point and says, “Now listen – this is CEMETERY photography we’re about here,” as our hero, without turning, takes a mighty swipe at a vicious dog leaping through the air toward them. The hook connects, the dog cries and runs off.
We walked toward the back of the crumbling gatehouse, really nothing more than a façade of crumbling brownstone, at this point; the clinging vines actually holding what’s left of the structure together. I spent a few minutes photographing the statue of Father Time behind it while Bob investigated the ruins of the gatehouse. “Looks like they’ve cleaned this place up a bit,” he said, noting the absence of broken tombstones, piles of old tires, and assorted garbage.
A few minutes later he came walking toward me and I asked him if he wanted to go around to photograph the front of the gatehouse. He said, “I don’t think so − someone has taken up residence in there.” Yikes. Bet that guy hasn’t had a Tony Luke’s breakfast sandwich in a while. So we headed off back in the direction of my car, a good twenty-minute walk across the cemetery. The weather turned windy and colder as I thought about Philadelphia’s upcoming Homicide Parade, meant to lament the city’s Big 300 murder rate for 2011. Yay.
|Gatehouse at Kingsessing Ave., Mt. Moriah Cemetery|