Finding Beauty Amidst Dreariness and Death


Beautiful water oaks in Christ Church Cemetery

There’s nothing I enjoy more than to go out for early morning photos, especially before 7:30 am.  I’m sure the fact that I’ve been spending all of my time getting the house ready to put on the market had a lot to do with it.  A change of venue was definitely needed.

The skies were overcast and dreary, but I wasn’t going to let the weather deter me.  I wondered how long the rain would hold off.  I hoped it wouldn’t be a total waste to travel the twenty, or so miles to get to Christ Church cemetery.

As I pulled out of my street and headed south towards the causeway, I noticed how the sky took on a reddish hue.  Then, there it was.  A growing ember burning through distant clouds over the horizon.  I had to get that shot.  I pulled over, hoping to catch the beauty.  Unfortunately, what I saw with my eye didn’t quite match with what the camera caught.  (*Sigh*)


IMG_9362As the crow flies, it’s probably less than 8 miles from my house to Christ Church.  Driving is another story.  Thirty minutes later, I pulled into the parking area.  Even though it had been drizzling, I was determine to stay ahead of it.  I grabbed my camera bag, crossed the street, and entered one of the most beautiful cemeteries I know.

Christ Church cemetery is one of my favorite places to visit, especially in the spring when everything starts to bloom.  Today’s mood was different. The gray skies accentuated the gray tombstones, creating a somewhat dreary and solemn mood.  If it weren’t for the Camellia and Hibiscus bushes, the setting would have next to no color.

Having a Photographer’s Eye


A Camellia and moss carpet

Sometimes, it’s easy to capture a good shot.  Other times, it’s not.  As I walked along the pathways and between the grave sites, I tried to keep my eye open for the unusual.  At times, I stood and looked around me, up and down.  I know it’s out there, but where?


Keeping watch

I’ve always been attracted to those little cherubs that are seated on or by the head stones.  I took a few shots of those, but I still felt they were too obvious.  My eye still needs a lot more training to see things in a unique way.


Looking into the face of an angel

I squatted to get down low, I stood underneath and looked up.

Another thing I noticed was sometimes I saw things that really captured my attention, but getting the camera to pick them up the same way I saw them didn’t always work.  Kind of like when I tried to get a shot of the sunrise.  Translation certainly has its downside.

The Beauty of the Moment

Here I was.  Enjoying myself in a cemetery on a very dreary day.  Yet, what I really noticed was that even amidst death, beauty continues to thrive, both made made and God created.  The colors of the Camellias and Hibiscus gave life to an otherwise gray and dreary setting.

Camellia with flash

Camellia with flash

The drizzle began to turn to rain.  It was time to pack up and head home.  Spending an hour in the cemetery was just what the doctor ordered.  I got what I came for and left more than satisfied, ready to return to the task of the day. 

Do you often follow your heart and not your head?  How do you find beauty in the midst of dreariness?

I’d love to hear from you.  Please leave your comment and I’ll get back with you as soon as I can.


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8 Responses to Finding Beauty Amidst Dreariness and Death

  1. Beautiful and wise post, Shelley!

    I love your wandering and your eye for picking subjects worthy to be captured and talked about. Anything and everything can be the a source of inspiration, if one looks with the eyes of the heart and the soul!

    I love taking photos before sunrises and during sunsets, of beautiful architectural elements — and of the buildings that desplay them — nature and people, the sea and the sky, gardens and food. My vacations have been a great source of amazing images and ispiration as has my garden. I have published wonderful photo books for my family and friends.

    More than that, all the above places inspire thoughts and words out of my soul and get me off my little selft and its problems. My book is filled with such inspirations. One of my incentives for publishing is not only my need to share with others but to also invite then to pay attention to beauty and inspiration, no matter where it is found, so as to bring it to their own world and…words.

    Thank you for your beautiful photos and words!

  2. Enjoyed your post Shelley. Especially loved your last photo. I love how it glowed. I too, love noticing beauty that others might miss. Thanks for sharing.
    Anne Gollias Peterson recently posted…He Cried with MeMy Profile

  3. Your eye seems to be well trained Shelley. Thank you for sharing your adventure with us. Getting out of the house is good for the soul.

    I almost never follow my head. Following my heart has given me a life of adventure, and a messy basement. Now, who would rather clean than create? And I need at least a year notice for family to come an visit. It will take me that long to clean.
    Pamela Hodges recently posted…A mother’s touch on a hot forehead and looking for a throat suckie at three in the morningMy Profile

    • Shelley says:

      I’m pretty careful when it comes to my free spirit side. It’s always ready to escape, but isn’t always allowed. Since I had been thinking about doing this for over a week, I knew it was brewing. It was time. I’ve got a mess waiting for me, too. I think taking a worthwhile break will give me a new energy to attack it. Thanks for the comment about my eye, Pamela. I never take what you say, lightly.
      Shelley recently posted…Finding Beauty Amidst Dreariness and DeathMy Profile

  4. Shelley I love the camellia, so vulnerable and beautiful. You describe the photographers urge to find something appealing all to well and I love the first light on a new dawn and also the golden light as the sun goes to bed. Yet seconds are all you have sometimes to capture such things. You have a natural eye and I love your perspective on this.
    Minuscule Moments recently posted…ONE SUBSCRIBER will WINMy Profile

    • Shelley says:

      The other evening, there was one of the most amazing sunsets I’ve seen in over a year. I was driving and couldn’t get home fast enough to grab my camera. I tried to find a place to pull over on the road, but had some difficulty. I never did get the shot I wanted. I think it was one of those times when I was supposed to just enjoy its beauty. The blazing sun had said goodnight. I often think about the beautiful photos Pete takes of your cows and how the sunlight hits them in such a magical sense.
      Shelley recently posted…Finding Beauty Amidst Dreariness and DeathMy Profile

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