Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Newly Departed

Mt. Olivet Cemetery is the final resting place of Renton's Pioneers. It has tombstones from the mid 1800's - entire families sharing plots side by side for generations. But there is always room for new generations to come to rest on this grassy knoll above the city - and so it is that a large Asian community has begun to place their ancestors just outside the front gates at Mt. Olivet.

Having lived in Asia myself for sometime, I can say that the feng shui of Mt. Olivet is regarded as highly auspicious and sought after - water in the front (a wonderful view of Lake Washington) with a green hill/mountain behind the graves. This rather new development of tombs is beginning to fill up.

Above are some photos of a recently departed soul's flower arrangements and offerings. The belief is that the afterlife is modeled on our life here on earth. The newly dead will need food and money in the other world, so fruit and meat are placed at the grave, and the red metal urn is for burning paper money and other paper effigies of items that might be of use to the dearly departed. I have even seen paper cars created and sent through the flames to the other side.

You'll be feeling the pain if you take a walk up the hill to see the view - but the workout is well worth it. Our Pioneer Cemetery is a beautiful shrine to our yesteryears and now, our new tomorrows. We'll all end up, hopefully, somewhere just as lovely. I would love to imagine my relatives coming to picnic on the hill, partaking in the lush green and blue hues of this preserved piece of Renton.
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