Tag Archives: The Green-Wood Cemetery

Memorial Day

How did you spend this Memorial Day, oddlings?

Bubo and I took a stroll through The Green-Wood Cemetery, paying our respects to the soldiers who have fallen in their service.

We missed the annual concert the cemetery hosts each year, but we had a lovely and contemplative walk.

Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day and there are over two dozen towns and cities across the United States claiming the title “birthplace of Memorial Day”. The tradition could have started in the South before the end fo the Civil War; organized women’s groups were decorating the graves of soldiers who had died in the bloody battles even then. Waterloo, New York was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day in 1966 by President Lyndon B. Johnson but it’s rather difficult to prove an exact date or origin. And, honestly, does it matter? The important thing is that countrymen and women remember their fellow countrymen and women who died in military service.

The National Moment of Remembrance resolution was passed in December of 2000 and asks that all Americans observe a moment of respect and remembrance at 3:00 pm local time each Memorial Day.

It’s never too late to take a quiet moment and remember things.

I had my moment of silence at The Green-Wood Cemetery. It’s been a bit of an aural melee here at the house; Mordecai has been shooting fireworks off from the widow’s walk and the yeti seems convinced that what she’s doing to my great-great-great-grandfather’s bugle is playing taps.

Trust me, she’s not.

Happy Memorial Day, oddlings.

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Susurrus

Early this morning I took a walk. It was before the sun rose, and a breeze lifted leaves and pollen from the sidewalks and swirled around my feet. Bubo was on my shoulder, and as we so often do, we walked through the Green-Wood Cemetery, enjoying the quiet that so rarely graces Brooklyn.

We walked beneath the trees and wound around the gravestones and it felt as though the earth were telling us a great secret, barely audible at first. Soon the wind was whipping through the trees and there was an explosion of leaves, flowers, pollen and feathers. Then that low rumble. As I often mumble, something wicked this way comes. Usually this means Mordecai is on the move, but he’s laid up in bed with a fever and Charles is reading him the complete works of Dostoevsky.

This brings us to susurrus. This noun is pronounced soo-SUHR-uhs and means a whispering or rustling sound. From the Latin susurrare to hum, to whisper, the first documented use of the word was 1826. And, naturally, you can use the verb susurrate (to whisper, murmur) or the adjective susurrous (full of whispering sounds) to round out your vocabulary.

One might say that Bubo and I experienced a low susurrus before the wind created the botanical explosion in the cemetery. One might also say that a violent storm is often preceded by a susurrus of anxiety and power. One might say a lot of things, my dears, and it is important that one has a full vocabulary with which to speak.

Hagiolatry

It is All Soul’s Day. Cousin Silas, being a fan of rituals of all kinds, woke early this morning and wandered The Green-Wood Cemetery to commune amongst the gravestones and observe what the Roman Rite liturgy calls The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed. As usual, Silas will celebrate with a culinary fete; I believe he will be making a stuffed pumpkin tonight. Last night he made pears stuffed with brie and pistachios for Dia de los Muertos. I can not keep up with all his rituals, but I will gladly eat the food.

This, of course, brings me to today’s word.

Hagiolatry (pronounced hag-ee-OL-uh-tree) is, simply, the worship of saints. (It can also mean To treat someone with undue reverence.)

It stems from the Greek hagio- holy plus -latry worship.

According to Catholicism, each day has a saint (or saints) associated with it. The faithful celebrate the lives of these saints each and every day. Silas keeps tiny totems of each of the saints in his home – he does not travel beyond his nest with them. Not a Catholic, Silas also keeps totems of Hindu gods, Buddha, and Islamic walis. Clearly he couldn’t travel with all of his totems, it would weigh him down too much in flight.

Luckily, Silas travels with all his recipes tucked away in his brain. Not one for hagiolatry myself, I am rather interested in gastrolatry.

Whatever your beliefs are, today, go find something delicious and appreciate it.

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