If you’ve visited the cemetery, you might have noticed down at the far end toward Main Street that there is a lot of “free space” where no burials are. Most people would think that it’s space we’re reserving for future burials. However, it’s not. When the land was purchased, it’s likely they didn’t know it’s full of sandy soil which is not the best for burials and therefore, the land has set empty and unused. In the next few years, we hope to take that dead land (no pun intended!) and transform it into something completely new, unexpected, and beneficial to the community and the environment.
I invited Richard Pillar, a local landscape architect, to come to the cemetery and see what he would recommend we do with this section. A few weeks later, Linda Standish, the Village Historian, and I traveled to Richard’s home and he blew us away with his vision for the section. I am happy to be able to share it with you here today. Richard’s hand-drawn plans are overlaid the on the Google Earth image of the section.
Richard envisioned a unique, quiet space where you can find solitude for mourning, reflection, or meditation. This is not a busy children’s playground… everything is meant to give you a sense of peace and serenity. Let me explain Richard’s innovative plan:
- We will be digging up the unused (and crumbling) paved road and replace it with grass. Then we will dig down and install a half mile gravel track around the section that will be ADA compliant for *everyone* to be able to use.
- We will add 4-6 parking spots for visitors that will help free up the roads around the cemetery.
- To the left of the parking spots, there will be a “human sundial” where you can stand, raise your arms, and a series of small markers will use your shadow to tell the time.
- The bright lime green spots on the plan are free-growing meadows with native plantings encourage birds, butterflies and bees to flourish within our community.
- The red pavilion will be a covered shelter in the shape of a schoolhouse to pay homage to the one that used to be there. It will be built on the foundation of the school that you can still see in the grass. This can be used for meeting purposes or for cemetery programming while giving our walkers a place to rest and relax.
- There will be a meditation labyrinth.
- There will be a semi-enclosed reading nook with benches and a little lending/taking library with motivational/empowering type books.
- In the natural low lying area, there will be a little pond. There used to be ducks and geese in the stream but it’s so low, we haven’t really seen them much and this will give them a place to stop/rest.
- The track will be dotted with bird boxes and low bushes that will give the birds a place to hide from predators.
- The dead trees will be artistically pruned down into a useful habitat for our woodpecker population and help avoid potential damage from falling trees.
There is absolutely nothing like this in our community and it’s something we are very excited to get this underway! We expect this to be a 5 year plan from start to finish. We have more planning to do, find appropriate companies to work with, and more so, we need to raise funds!
What are your thoughts about our serenity garden? We’d love to know.