Thursday, July 21, 2011
Old Western Cemetery, Bird Song and Silence
On a driving trip back to San Francisco from visiting family in Portland, Oregon, my husband and I stopped at Jacksonville, Oregon, about six miles west of the farm town of Medford. The Main Street is about four blocks long, with buildings dating from the 1850s. It was hot the day we were there -- 85 degrees or so -- that is, hot for San Franciscans used to the Summer Fog, but just delightful for the local folk used to temperatures in the low 100's during the summer. One of the main attractions of Jacksonville is the cemetery, which we walked up a winding road to get to at the top of a ragged hill with lovely views of the larger hills and valleys all around. Huge old orange-barked manzanitas shaded the peaceful resting places of pioneers to Oregon. The cemetery was divided into various sections: City, Masonic, Jewish -- and the time-honored Potter's Field, where the poor and the unknown were buried, usually without any markers. It was a peaceful place, as you can see in the video -- if you listen carefully, you can hear the birds trilling in the late afternoon sun.