Monuments. That is basically what a tombstone or tomb-marker is, whether it’s a simple slab with a name on it or an obelisk, it’s a monument to the person interred, a reminder to the living of a person now dead.
These markers fade with time, and people forget, generations pass and the dead are lost to the living. Some are forgotten entirely, some are just names on a family tree. Do we all want to fade from memory like dawn fades to day, once there, once unique, never to be seen again, never to be remembered and referred to?
Most of us will do just that, but the few who are exceptional will live on as legends and icons of History. Whether we are remembered as tyrants or dictators, philanthropists or inventors, pioneers or adventurers, famous artists or infamous criminals depends on the decisions we make daily.
At times like this, when my thoughts stray to these realms, I remember two phrases from my early High School days. I attended St. Stanislaus College, it was a Catholic School before the government took everything over under early PNC rule in Guyana. Some things had remained as part of the teaching and tradition of the school.
The two phrases I remember were from different sources.
One was given to us as four letters to be written at the top of every page, I believe it was handed down from the Jesuits who taught at the school when it was a Catholic School; the letters were AMDG, a shortened form for Ad maiorem Dei gloriam, which meant “For the Greater Glory of God”, it was meant to encourage you to try to make everything you do, everything you say be geared towards that goal.
The second phrase was the school’s motto, Aeterna non Caduca, literally translated to “eternal non perishable”, but we were told that the motto translated to “Not for this Life, but for Eternity”. Whatever we do should not be just to have an effect now, in our lifetime, but for eternity.
Taken together they can be a driving force for a truly spectacular life, a life of meaning, unfortunately, not many would adhere to such a strict code.
Many people who happen to drop in to read my blog-posts are fellow aspiring photographers (in one way or another), we may never be an Ansel Adams or a Nick Brandt, a Frank Horvat or Mario Testino, an Irving Penn or a Steve McCurry, a Joe Rosenthal or a Don McCullin, an Henri Cartier Bresson or a Vivian Maier, but what we can do is aspire to show to anyone who will look, how we see the world through our eyes, our view-finders, our lenses, make them feel what we feel through visual stimulation (and if necessary a few words) 🙂
Can I do that? Can we do that? I don’t know, but I am sure going to give it a try!
This was taken during a photo-walk arranged by the Guyana Photographers Facebook group, lots of people thought it strange to arrange a walk in a cemetery 🙂
Click on the photo to see it larger in the Gallery.
8 thoughts on “2011 Deck – Week 46”
Super post Mike, I enjoyed this one. Very thoughtful.
Thanks, it must be one of those mornings… 🙂
Your cemetery ramble was of great interest to me. My mother died when I was five, and was buried in a cemetery called something like La Penitance. (Actually, I think that may not be quite right, but it is something like that. In 1993, I re-visited Guyana for the express purpose of visiting her grave, but the night I landed it commenced to rain, and it rained for three days, and the graveyard was under feet of water. I did not get to see her grave. If you ever get a chance to wander around there and can find her grave, I would be so very grateful for a photo. Her name was Mary Elizabeth Hares, (nee McLaughlin), She died in 1948, although I am not sure exactly when. As a very young child, not much was shared with me (or my 3-year old sister).
Keep on with your excellent career! You are an Ansel Adams for Guyana, that is your responsibility and privilege!
Hi Mary, maybe I can get the guys to go back for another walk and a look. 🙂 Did you notice the amount of brush or bush that’s there? They don’t keep the cemetary in good repair, they recently razed most of the place, and some of the tombs cracked under the heat, and of course some were broken into by theives.
Thanks for that, Michael. Yes, I did notice that the grounds have gone wild. It may be that my mother’s final resting place has vanished for good. But it would be truly wonderful if it could be located by you or your fellow ramblers. I think that might encourage me to return to Guyana to see it!
I hope you have an enjoyable Christmas holiday and New Year. Do they still decorate the shop windows for Christmas as they used to do in the forties and fifties? John Fernandes, Sr., used to organize a dray cart to take the family — my sister and I lived there for a time — around downtown to see the sights. Such fun!
Loved the blog- it was quite thoughtful and enlightening.
And to answer your question at the end- yes you do do that… while as you said we may never be an ansel adams, et al you have showed us your life and your views through your lens… and its been a lovely journey so far!
Thanks Rosh, you are too too kind!
Pingback: Alma Mater « The Michael Lam Collection's Blog