Monday, April 23, 2012

Graveyard Rabbits


I like rabbits and I like graveyards, the older the better.  Somehow I had never thought to put the two of them together.  Luckily, I ran across a reference to The Association of Graveyard Rabbits.  Unfortunately, the association is not about rabbits in graveyards.  Instead, it is about the historical and social aspects of graveyards, grave markers, and the customs associated with burial.  Members of the association look for and research these different aspects, learning about our past through the things we leave behind. 

The group takes its name from a poem, another point in their favor.  Frank Lebby Stanton wrote a poem called The Graveyard Rabbit.  There are also superstitions surrounding those rabbits that choose to live in graveyards and burrow in the hallowed ground. 

Every year, my local county conservation center puts on a graveyard tour.  I went one year and still need to contact my mom to see if she wants to go again this year.  We went to a few local cemeteries, learned about the history of some of those buried there, and learned about the markings on the stones.

One of the cemeteries we visited has a large boulder as a marker for a family who died in a covered wagon making their way across the plains.  No one knew who they were or what happened, just that the wagon burned with everyone inside it.  Another cemetery was the small, family plot of Billy Sunday.  Another cemetery is basically in someone’s yard, but it can never be relocated and the ground can never be dug because most of those buried there died of one of those terrible diseases that can stay dormant until it hits fresh air again.

One of the few field trips I’ve gone on with my kiddo was the Pioneer Day last year.  We learned how the Pioneers lived.  We made lye soap, butter and gingerbread, washed clothes, and played games.  After lunch, we walked to a graveyard that is still active around a little church and looked for the pioneer stones.

I love the old stones, the carvings, the eroded stone, the hidden stones behind plants.  I’ve mostly gotten over my fear of treading on the dead and graveyards are a nice, quiet place of reflection.  If you feel the same, go check out the Graveyard Rabbits!

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