Not noticing

I spent this morning driving around to local graveyards, looking for 18th C. gravestones to photograph — I’m giving a talk on 17th and 18th C. gravestones at the Whaling Museum in a couple of weeks, and I needed to get some visuals for the talk.

Had I spent the morning driving around in some other place, away from home — even had I been just twenty or thirty miles from the New Bedford area — I would have had much to write about. Travel has a way of opening our eyes; we laugh at tourists who come to our home town, and walk slowly, gawking, and stopping to take photographs of everything; but then when we go someplace new, we behave in exactly the same way.

Since I stayed near home, I didn’t see much. Even though I drove to one place I hadn’t really seen before — the Hixville section of Dartmouth — I didn’t pay any particular attention to it. I drove to it, found the cemetery I was looking for, quickly took photographs of a few gravestones, and left; all without having noticed much of anything beyond the gravestones.

5 thoughts on “Not noticing

  1. JH

    I think you should take my nonfiction class…we spend a lot of time figuring out ways to pay attention to the world. And put it into words.

  2. Cora

    So you drove all the way to Dartmouth? First of all you could have walked down the hill to one of New Bedfords oldest cemetries beside Rt.18 and the projects. or better yet go to Acushnet and visit the graveyard where our church once stood in 1708! there are plenty of beautiful soapstone headstones there, at the
    “head of the River. “

  3. Dan

    Cora — I started out at the cemetery at Parting Ways, then did Nasketucket, and only then went out to Dartmouth (after the light was no good for taking photos in Acushnet and Fairhaven). I’m a little leery of going into that old New Bedford cemetery alone — which is the case in all city graveyards — I get so involved in the stones that I don’t always pay attention to my surroundings, which is not a good idea in any American city.

  4. Cora

    Wrong cemetery…Parting ways was not the site of our first church, it’s the front of the Acushnet cemetery…back down south main towards the river…the stone stairs are still there.
    As for city cemeteries, especially inner city ones, you my friend can get away with a collar. I visit in the morning with a clipboard (whether or not I use it) people tend to leave me alone.

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