Posts Tagged ‘grave markers


Oregon Pioneers & Johnson Creek

If you have followed SwittersB for a bit, you know I love to stroll through Oregon’s Pioneer cemeteries. There are several in the Portland area that often give a view of the founders of Portland. The other day, I was walking around a cemetery in SE Portland. There I found a grave marker for Jacob and Martha Jane Lee Johnson. The marker described them as Oregon Pioneers and as the namesakes for Johnson Creek that flows across the southern part of the city from Gresham into the Willamette River. It was a fascinating discovery in an unassuming cemetery, in an unremarkable section. If one cares about local history, such cemeteries are interesting. It also makes you consider life, death, remembrance, purpose and your place in life.

johnson creek-cemetery-grave-marker-johnsons-holgate-SwittersB

Multnomah Park Cemetery-sign-Holgate-SwittersB


Sometimes the history, the person is less clear


Don’t Fence Me In….

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“Don’t Fence Me In” 

Rob Fletcher, Cowboy Poet, 1934

Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above
Don’t fence me in
Let me ride through the wide open country that I love
Don’t fence me in

Let me be by myself in the evenin’ breeze
And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees
Send me off forever but I ask you please
Don’t fence me in

I want to ride to the ridge where the West commences
And gaze at the moon till I lose my senses
And I can’t look at hobbles and I can’t stand fences
Don’t fence me in

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grave-cross-stump-Lone Pine Cemetery-Oregon-SwittersB-photography

headstone-bushes-Lone Pine-cemetery-photography-SwittersB


Photography: Cemetery Drama (Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff)

Every grave marker could tell a story, much like every person walking past you on the street. The visuals prompt questions that can only be guessed at as you stand there. Leaving the questions unanswered is almost part of the magic of the experience. I imagine the possible answers. Those answers give humanity to the moment and probably reflect something about me along the way?

Kids Graves

Marker Kids SB


This cemetery plot had quite a few small marble squares with girl’s and boy’s names. The central marker had all four sides engraved with the names and dates of life & death of obviously young children. The single marker for Mother was in simple, stark contrast to all the heart ache and spirit altering scars that had to have taken place.

We always walk away from such explorations with a sense of “don’t sweat the small stuff…others have endured much worse”.



Cemetery Spell & Story Telling

Cemeteries, pioneer cemeteries, hold a spell over me. Portland has quite a few designated as ‘pioneer’. Of course, they are not as old as eastern U.S. cemeteries. But, there a draw to them that intrigues and begs so many questions as you walk about.

I have decided to spend more time stopping along the way, whether on the open road or around town, and slowing down enough to study the markers and capture some with the camera that work their way into my imagination.

 For years, I have driven by this old cemetery perched atop a hillside in Central Oregon. Always in a hurry to fish, the hillside begged but I drove by. This day, I pulled off and drove up into cemetery.

What a captivating setting. Rugged and almost forgotten. I walked about the tall, dry grass. There were hundreds of stories here and all the attendant questions.

Below @ “The Past” you can search back to 2008 month by month

August 2020

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