Friday, March 20, 2009

Photo of the day: Sorrow

People really used to know how to mourn.

Death has lost some of its ritual in contemporary society. No black armbands or windows with the shades drawn. It used to be the whole world knew you had lost someone. The trappings of sorrow marked you out and, in some ways, helped the world to treat you with gentleness. Now there is no way to tell when someone is grieving.

Monuments, too, have lost their monumentality. When my father died in the early 80s the cemetery he was buried in had already instituted a rule against standing memorials. Only flat stones. Ease of groundskeeping had taken precedent over art and tradition. No mausoleums. No tombs. No weeping angels or vigilant cherubs. Just a stone flush against the grass.

But back then, people really used to know how to mourn. As this sorrowful shot attests.

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