Yesterday I discovered that yet another of my friends has begun his begun his battle to avoid the grim reaper. At times like this, when I am faced with my own mortality, I like to cheer myself up with a trip to the cemetery; in this case Pere Lachaise. This is the largest and one of the most famous burial grounds in Paris and hosts the likes of Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, Isadora Duncan, Jim Morrison and oh so many more rich, powerful and famous people. While a visit here may sound a bit dark and broody, Pere Lachaise is a very peaceful and uplifting place to visit. Scanning the quantity and quality of the tombs you are struck with the sudden realisation that the dead have invested more money in trying to achieve immortality than it would take to wipe out world hunger at a stroke. The shear decadence of the marble, granite and stonework structures beggars belief. It can only be assumed that the people buried beneath them were trying to cling on to some earthly presence despite having left this world for the next.
Each time I visit Pere Lachaise I like to pick a theme for the day. Previous trips have involved photographing the stained glass. On another occasions it was the plants growing on the tombs with the theme of life and death. On today’s visit I decided to photograph the sculptures of the men who found it so difficult to leave the world devoid of their existence and decided a replica of themselves, in life, would grant them a form of immortality.
I was suddenly struck with the humorous thought that by posting a blog of their sculpture, in my own small way, I have brought them the kind of immortality that can only be achieved by going digital. Who knew? Certainly not the guys with the statues. After a couple of hours I left the place fully cheered up and revitalised, once again believing that the time we have here is precious and should be enjoyed to the fullest.
Another thing that struck me was the fact that there wasn’t a single sculpture of a woman, unless you count the angels watching over the graves. Apparently, women don’t feel it necessary to leave a permanent reminder behind them. Let’s hear it for the ladies, well done girls.