"In the midst of life we are in death"

MAN, that is born of a woman, hath but a short time to live, and is full of misery. He cometh up, and is cut down, like a flower; he fleeth as it were a shadow, and never continueth in one stay.
In the midst of life we are in death: of whom may we seek for succour, but of thee, O LORD, who for our sins art justly displeased?
Yet, O LORD GOD most holy, O Lord most mighty, O holy and most merciful Saviour, deliver us not into the bitter pains of eternal death.
Thou knowest, LORD, the secrets of our hearts; shut not thy merciful ears to our prayer; but spare us, LORD most holy, O GOD most mighty, O holy and merciful SAVIOUR; thou most worthy Judge eternal, suffer us not, at our last hour, for any pains of death, to fall from thee.

Which all seems so unnecessarily negative. Having spent several hours wandering around Southern Cemetery I’d say quite the opposite. In the midst of this sprawling park dedicated to death there is nothing but life. Trees are everywhere, several dripping apples over the lucky souls memorialised beneath them. There were blackcurrant bushes and ivy wrapped around headstones and squirrels running everywhere.

After I’d been wandering around for an hour and a half the man who was emptying the various bins into the back of his Transit pick up stopped to ask if I was lost. I couldn’t really explain that I was just pottering, and I didn’t want to tell him I was collecting images for a set of background images for renders.

L S Lowry‘s buried somewhere in Southern Cemetery, so I read last week, but I couldn’t find his memorial. I did, however, happen upon those of John Rylands and John Alcock. The real tales of the city are in the ordinary graves, however. There were far too many to take in in one day. I was brought up short every so often by memorials to children and babies, and I did like the very Dickensian name of the Workmaster family. I’m not a religious person, but I did feel the need to pay respect at the war memorials, one for civilians and another for servicemen. Simply placing a hand on the stone seemed to do the job, I don’t know how or why.

I wandered around Southern Cemetery for around three hours, and I could probably go back and spend longer, concentrating on one area to see if there’s any family tales to be told.

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