Saturday, May 17, 2008

Cave Hill

I've been curious about Cave Hill Cemetery for months. I drive by it and around it often. It's hard to miss: 296 acres in the middle of Louisville.

Until today all I had ever seen were the miles of stone fence surrounding the cemetery along Grinstead Drive and Lexington Road.

But this morning, we took our family walk in the cemetery. Sounds strange, but it was fascinating and beautiful.

Walking through the cemetery was a history lesson, for sure. All the big names of Louisville history are buried at Cave Hill: Speed, Seelbach, Colonel Sanders, Gheens, Norton, Belknap, Boyce, Sampey, Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr., and many more.

We passed by the graves of Breckinridge, Henry Watterson, Zorn, Grinstead, Baxter. It seems every street in Louisville is buried here :)

Cave Hill is known as a "Garden Cemetery," and is in fact an arboretum, the only one in the city. The foliage this season is full with roses, peonies, Iris, and Japanese Maple. Probably many more exotic things, too, but I'm still at a basic level of plant appreciation.

Part of the grounds were used as a Civil War burial site. One section for Union solders; one section for Confederate soldiers.

The elaborate monuments are quite a sight, all in memory of wealthy and influential Louisvillians. Fountains, statues, obelisks, mausoleums with stain glass windows, elaborate family plot gardens. One monument was a life-like statue of a magician, his hand outstretched in invitation to his audience. To his side was a trunk with a cape draped over top. Many amazing works of art, really.

We didn't intend for the morning to be any more than a walk through a sort of outdoor museum. It turned, however, into a spiritual lesson when Calvin asked, "Mommy and Daddy, why do people have to die?"

We discussed with him Hebrews 9:27, "Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment."

What a profound question he asked us, and what an unexpected opportunity to once again share the gospel with him.

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