Buried Stories

I love a good graveyard, don’t you?  The older ones, with the stones so weather beaten and worn that you can barely make out who lies beneath.  Just wow.  I could spend hours just meandering between the old stones.  There is a certain magic about the stories that lie in their quiet tombs.


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These are works of art.  

I took these photos whilst in Scotland a few years ago.  In my imagination these souls were everything from dignitaries to pirates -maybe even both at the same time!  The symbols, though familiar, are open to interpretation.  Could the skulls  and bones mark the graves of pirates?  The symbolism of the square and compass is far more familiar to me.  The stone that is done in the shape of the tree stump must have a tragic story attached to it, for none of the names on it were much older than twenty when they passed away.  All of them seemed to be related, too.  A whole family lost, save the parents perhaps?  Do you think the parents moved away from their loss, started fresh somewhere new?  I like to think so. 

If I were to write a story inspired by some of the symbols on these stones, there would be swashbuckling ghosts and noble fallen soldiers.  Tragic children and weeping mothers.  No doubt a curse or two.  A warning of troubled times to come, and a heart-tugging hero to swoop in, save the day, and probably kiss the girl! 

Inspiration is all around when you start looking.

Symbology is a fascinating subject, and there are so many wonderful examples on these old stones.  A few quick keystrokes and I could easily tumble down a rabbit hole of meanings and interpretations for these stones.  Just a little exploration and I look on these with fresh eyes!  Apparently the skull and bones symbolizes death (I prefer pirates, to be honest).  The tree also symbolizes a life cut short, every bole a life.  Fascinating!  Do you suppose the use of these symbols was to communicate a lot of information in a small space, or could it be that in this way even the lesser educated of the community could see the symbols and understand the story? 

Life, and indeed death, is full of fascinating intricacies!  Let’s be curious.

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