Reading Cemetery

The first stop in my project documenting death in Kansas is Reading Cemetery — where my maternal grandparents rest, tucked on a Kansas hillside and cradled by dirt roads miles from nowhere. It’s been twenty years since I’ve been here, but even with over one thousand graves here, I knew exactly where to look.

Remember, friends, as you pass by,
As you are now, so once was I;
As I am now so you must be,
Prepare for Heaven and follow me

My grandfather passed in 2000 and he rests next to my grandma and other family, under nondescript, low profile headstones. The last time I was here, I was still shooting with the Pentax K1000 he gave me, now it’s almost 20 years later and I’ve moved onwards to digital but I’m still drawn to shooting the same things–that rickety old shed that’s barely standing, moss etched into the weather worn names on headstones.

There wasn’t a singular cloud in the sky when we were there that July afternoon and I didn’t see one car, let alone a person, the entire time I was there. Almost eerily quiet on a hot summer day, nothing but blue skies and cornfields. And while that’s nice, and it’s all I can hope to have for my own resting place, I can’t help but wonder if Grandma would rather be somewhere with a little more excitement.