• Cemeteries and Kittens

    October 3rd, 2010adminImagination, Istanbul, Los Angeles, Religion

    Mosque cemetery from the Ottoman era (in Fatih)

    Cemeteries are so interesting, especially in foreign places.

    In Los Angeles, I used to live across the street from a cemetery. For years, people smoked, played music, chatted (even broke up!) on that balcony, overlooking a vast  military cemetery. The intermingling of life and death also struck me — it was a bit eerie and a bit comforting.

    Last month, in the Fatih district, I passed by an old mosque. It was early evening and families gathered for prayer, weaving their way through the cemetery. One man reached to feed a street cat, hiding behind a tombstone. And then they quietly entered the mosque.

    The ubiquitous Turkish street cat -- in this case, a baby kitten who was as equally scared of humans as it was eager for food. I'm a huge feline fan, so I'm basically in love with all the street cats and wish I could take them home.

    I took these pictures in the cemetery, directly behind the mosque. It was so very green. The place felt magical, like a fairy or unicorn lived behind the brush. Really, that’s what it was like!

    I’ve been thinking about cemeteries …how revealing they can be. Some are so stark, so direct — dirt, a simple cross and the sky. Others are ostentatious & ornate, like the absurd mausoleums of Hollywood.

    Cemeteries tell us things. The kinds of stories we, sometimes, find in coffee shops or taxi rides. But they’re more quiet ..and they’re just different …they seem to communicate something else. Cemeteries are a way to understand people — how they memorialize life, and love, and how they interpret memories. That’s another reason why I visit them. I may not know the people, yet I wish I somehow did.

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