Something dawned on me recently; it’s probably blindingly obvious to most people but for some reason it hadn’t been to me until that moment. I was taking a short cut through the churchyard and casually observing the gravestones standing there, like a small crowd of quiet, still people, when it suddenly struck me that that's exactly what they are.
A small crowd of quiet, still people: neighbours, friends, strangers; old, young and in-between; shopkeepers and factory workers; families grouped together - like a gathering at a village fête. Although I’m not religious, the significance of headstones suddenly registered in a whole new way, and I found it kind of comforting. I saw the graveyard in a different light, like a place full of life rather than death.
The local graveyard
Then last month I was down at the City of London Cemetery again and the analogy really hit home. It’s huge. The 'population' of headstones is more like a large town than a gathering at a village fête - there are 150,000 graves there.