Memento Mori: Passage of years

Passage of Years; Te Henui Cemetery, New Plymouth. 12.12 pm; 6 May 2011

“Eternity is really long, especially near the end”, according to Woody Allen. Of course eternity can’t be measured in years, but the only other scale we have is that of generations, counting from our own backwards or forwards, to the umpteenth. This too is an odd meditation: some people can barely remember their grandparents, and how many can recall their great-grandparents (I met two of mine as a boy)? Conversely, on our 100th birthday, will we look on our gathered descendants in wonder and bemusement – if not detachment?

On a well cared-for grave this uncommon collation of colour presents an ironic contrast: the most ephemeral of natural beauty is mimicked in everlasting plastic, and set against a single, powerful word engraved in enduring stone. That word will inevitably claim us all!

Memento mori is a Latin phrase which in loose translation means “Don’t lose sight of your own mortality”.  This is the 13th in a series of New Zealand cemetery cameos.

1/30th sec at f16. Nikon 85mm; ISO 200

 

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