Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Cemetery Symbolism: The Willow Tree

(Circa 1821, Forks of the Brandywine Presbyterian Church, West Brandywine Township, Pennsylvania)
The Willow Tree: Symbolizing eternal grief.
Isn't it strangely poignant to depict a cemetery on a tombstone?

8 comments:

anne said...

Oh dear, weeping willows are my favorite trees ever, that doesn't bode too well, does it?

Kara Alison said...

Anne, they're my favorite too. There's something supernatural about them. The way that they move. The way that they sound. They're the only tree that I could ever relate to (almost human). That explains the choice for the tombstone: the tree is eternally grieving. It's kind of cool.

LiVEwiRe said...

Kind of twisted, I'd agree. But oh, how I love to walk through cemetaries; the older the stones the better.

jason evans said...

Anne, a touch of melancholy never hurt anyone!

Kara, I agree. Weeping willows are a unique presence.

LiveWire, welcome! Old cemeteries are the best. I'm fortunate to have come across more than a few. I wish the Victorian stones weren't so badly weathered. It's frustrating not being able to read the epitaphs!

anne frasier said...

i was always told that if you plant a weeping willow someone in your family will die...it was either five years later, or within five years.

jason evans said...

Anne, any idea where that saying came from? I've never heard it. Very intriguing.

anne frasier said...

jason, my mother's family always talked about that in very hushed tones. they were/are irish and swedish. i know that both of my grandparents on that side of the family died very young after a willow tree was planted. i was really little, so i don't remember if it was five years later, or within 5 years. i think it's within. after my grandfather died ( i think he planted the first tree), my grandmother said it was superstitious nonsense, then planted the willow that supposedly led to her demise.

jason evans said...

they were/are irish and swedish

That's what I was curious about. I wonder if the willow tree superstition has certain cultural roots (no pun intended).

my grandmother said it was superstitious nonsense, then planted the willow that supposedly led to her demise

Ouch. That's definitely what would happen to me.