Nowadays in Western Europe, it seems hard to imagine that one day people went to church every Sunday, praying, confessing, fearing judgment and hoping to be buried among their forefathers one day on the church grounds. But the churches didn't disappear when faith was carried away by changing times. In fact, I'm pretty sure every European village grew organically around their village center, which by rule of law had to include a church, a bakery and a butcher shop - in that order. Every villager needed their daily prayer, bread and meat, right? So it should come as no surprise that my tiny town has a church as well. Since we live in the center, "our" church is visible from our front door and we can still hear the bells ringing in every half hour. I find our church and graveyard beautiful, especially when the sun is a-shining.
Since me and my boyfriend wanted to take a walk yesterday, called out by the beautiful blue skies, I suggested we'd take a tour around the village center. Sometimes you underestimate the beauty of your immediate surroundings. Our few hundred meter walk ended up taking an hour and then some because we strolled ultra-casually, soaking up the sun and those details you usually pass by without a second glance.
Let me share some sights :-) Warning: loadsa pics coming up!
Front entrance to our church, lined by the graveyard. My boyfriend on the right :-)
I decided to wear a white dress: more appropriate than colorful attire on a graveyard, but not as "hey let's look goth" as all black. I didn't want to fake anything but still be respectful.
Anyone have any idea what those scary looking spiked fences might be for? Maybe to keep people from urinating against the church walls?
When we got to the church portal I realized I had never even been inside while I have been living here for about 6 years. Time for change!
The light, the echo, the scent and the cool temperatures in churches always fill me with a calm awe. Whenever I enter a church, I suddenly understand why some people are religious.
How beautiful is this old chariot hearse?
My favorite part of church was always the pulpit. As a kid I always dreamed of going up there but while I am quite a daredevil and not that susceptible to authority, churches still fill me with a quiet sense of what you're (NOT) supposed to do. A feeling of preemptive guilt in a way. Oy vey!
Let's go outside again.
This gravestone dated back to 1770! Amazing piece of history.
This is what I want my grave to look like: simple and bursting with life in the form of wild flowers.
Haha couldn't help myself
This crazy-awesome Jesus mosaic was made by a famous local family of masons.
Now on to a less morbid part: we encountered some of the graveyard locals. No, not zombies! Cats! First up, Roland (as we called him). All he wanted was to be cuddled. TO DEATH
I basically wanted to bring him home with us, but sadly we already have four cats. I am destined to become a crazy catlady yo.
These two weren't in the mood for cuddling, but adorable nonetheless. Especially the black and white kitten with the luscious whiskers!
The sun, flowers, cats, two crazy kids in love (hint: US) and ladybugs: it really struck me how beautifully filled with life this graveyard was. A nice pick-me-up after the last few difficult days with the Pukkelpop disaster. After life ends, life goes on. Even if mankind would go extinct, life would go on. I'm not religious at all, but I guess sometimes being confronted with classic religions, history and life really puts things in perspective. I feel relieved.
dress: River Island
sandals: Sac d'Anvers
PS: to prove my point:
This is the beautiful, monumental "freedom" oak that is basically our town's mascot. The tree is around 120 years old, 20 meters high and I really love it. It will go on living long after I am gone, and I take comfort in that fact.
Am I being too depressed again? I didn't mean to be, I actually feel this is a happy post! :-) Please share with me your thoughts on religion, life and death. Or cats! :-D