ancient sanctuary

4.21.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut
4.21.13 ~ Stonington Cemetery

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
~ William Wordsworth
(Poems in Two Volumes)
my tree

If you look closely you can see Tim’s arms reaching out from behind the tree’s trunk. Wise guy! I didn’t notice this when I was taking the picture! It looks like some buds are just beginning to come out. Here is a better picture of the trunk surrounding the stone corner post I spotted last week:

I wonder what kind of plant (below) is coming up at the base of the tree!

On this day I found some new twigs with little buds on them (below). They will probably be be pruned away, considering what befell the dead twig below the new ones.

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.
~ Herman Hesse
(Trees: Reflections & Poems)

The monument below tells a brief story about something that happened locally during the War of 1812 (1812-1815), which was fought between the United States and the British Empire.


Here rest the remains
of Mr. Thomas
Barratt Powers,
aged 18 years,
late Midshipman of
H.B. Majesty’s Ship
Superb, who was killed
in action in a boat
on the 31st July 1814,
a Native of Market
Bosworth, in the County
of Leicestershire


On the side of this monument these words are inscribed: “This Monument was erected by the Hon. Capt. Paget, and his Brother Officers as a tribute of respect and esteem.”

No doubt “Hon. Capt. Paget” is British Vice Admiral Sir Charles Paget (1778-1839) who was appointed to the HMS Superb for part of his naval career. According to Wikipedia: “In 1814 he was employed on the coast of North America … entrusted with the command of a squadron stationed off New London and took part in an attack upon Wareham, Massachusetts during the War of 1812.” Wareham is about 100 miles northeast from New London. I wonder how this young sailor came to be buried in this particular cemetery. I wonder if Thomas’ parents were devastated to have their son buried so far away in foreign soil…

Sir Charles Paget

Under the cross placed at the bottom of the monument are the words: “British & Colonial G.W.V.A.” The only organization I could find online with an GWVA acronym is Canadian, the Great War Veterans Association, which was formed in 1917, way after the War of 1812. But perhaps they decided to honor the veterans of past wars with plaques, too.

One is left with the horrible feeling now that war settles nothing; that to win a war is as disastrous as to lose one.
~ Agatha Christie
(An Autobiography)

14 thoughts on “ancient sanctuary”

  1. The mystery of Cemetery’s is that they could be book full of stories, stories about lives, communities and whole families. History of an area. Row after row of names, dates, poems, monuments each telling of the person and the people who loved and respected them…

    1. It’s been a while since I’ve been cemetery-hopping, which I used to do very frequently. So many graves are unremarkable, which can be sad. But I’m discovering that with the speed one can do research online now it’s exciting to find a stone with clues that can be investigated so quickly.

    1. It does make us wonder when we will ever learn that war never solves anything, that winning one isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be…

  2. Like Laurie, I was struck by the Agatha Christie quote also. There are no winners in a war, it is totally impossible for there to be.

    It is curious why Thomas Powers would be laid to rest in the USA and why Captaian Paget would erect a monument in his honour. It leaves us with many more questions than answers.

    Have you decided whether your tree is a Grandmother tree or a Grandfather tree yet? It is wonderful watching it develop an even greater personality (and sprouting arms!) πŸ™‚

    1. My guess is that before there were airplanes and refrigeration available to transport dead soldiers back to their homelands they simply had no other choice but to bury them locally. No doubt Capt. Paget cared deeply for the men in his charge and did not want them forgotten in unmarked graves. There are over 9,000 American soldiers who died fighting in World War II, buried in France at the Normandy American Cemetery & Memorial.

      I must learn now if trees are male and female or not – maybe as as soon as I discover what kind of tree it is – but my feeling is my tree is a Grandmother!

  3. Ha ha nice to see Tim waving at us. Helloooo Tim I’m waving back…

    Your tree is amazing – I’m so glad you’re keeping us in touch with its growth.
    I’m hoping I’ll soon be able to speak “tree”. I know it’s possible. Interesting to see Herman Hesse writing about it.

    I very much enjoyed reading the inscriptions on the monument. We are a new country but there’s so much history if we just look for it.

    1. Tim laughed when I told him you were waving back at him. πŸ™‚ He sure knows how to keep me from getting too serious – what a precious gift a sense of humor is. Understanding β€œtree” was something I was tuned into as a child, so I am looking forward to rekindling that ability with regular visits to this one. Do you have any special trees, Rosie? I loved the picture of the 800-year-old one you encountered in Spain.

  4. This is so informative. I sometimes feel like visiting such historical places, that has so many interesting facts & stories. William Wordsworth’s poems are my favorites since childhood. I like the way you have captured the details of the tree – so close. Thank you for such posts that arouse the curiosity within us, more 7 more.

    1. Happy to know your curiosity was aroused, Sonali. Cemeteries seem to be places where history and nature come together in a most meaningful way. I’d love to see some pictures from cemeteries in India, if you ever decide to take any! William Wordsworth was an amazing poet – I love the glimpses into the magic of childhood he often wrote about…

  5. Wonderful post! I really enjoy old cemeteries. They have great old trees, often attract interesting birds, and the tombstones and other memorials are fascinating bits of history.

    1. Thank you, Tracy! I was looking for birds on my tree, but couldn’t make out the one who flew off one of the branches while I was there. I’m starting to appreciate just how tall the tree is. Note to self: bring binoculars to cemetery next time!

A box for your thoughts...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.