Clouds and shadows

It was a dark cloudy start to this Halloween morning. It had rained overnight and although it had ushered in a cold front, it did nothing to dispel the clouds.

I could have stayed home but I was determined to shoot something. So I thought of the old Tampa graveyard that is downtown. It was the bay area’s first official graveyard.

I knew it wouldn’t be open but decided that maybe a shot of the entrance might help give my images a Halloween flavor. And I wasn’t wrong.

I continued from that shot into the Cass Ave area where the old bridge makes way for any river traffic in its almost perpetually “up” mode. CSX had security cameras allover it, so I can’t be too surprised later if there is a knock on my door later with a ticket for trespassing, but I couldn’t resist.

I walked the length of rail that goes out over the Hillsborough river … another step and I would have been in the river. The huge rusty frame and the warm lighting that comes across from the other side, makes it very appealing to the wide lens on my camera. And the views of downtown from halfway across the river are also worth taking a shot of.

Given the day that was in it, the heavy clouds and lack of sunrise provided exactly the mood I was looking for.

There are a few images at the end of the blog. Hope you enjoy.

Driving home, my mind went back onto the graveyard and while the history of the place doesn’t compare to older cemeteries in Ireland and such, it reeks with people who were once some of the most important people in the region.

It has the city’s first mayor, a governor, and many renowned judges and lawyers. There is a grave of someone who was murdered, right next to the man who was hanged for it.

So, the thought that occurred to me is how the passage of time steals any fame or notoriety from almost everyone. I am pretty sure that in their time, most of these people were household names. Yet I can’t imagine that anyone reading this could tell me a single name of anyone buried here without having to look it up.

Which only serves to remind us of how foolish the pursuit of fame is, in the grand scheme of things.

So look around you now at the people that hog the headlines today and take it as a given that three generations from now, no one will even know they existed.

I mean there are some names that are historical figures that will be taught in the history books. Some might be written about for their accomplishments and others for their infamy, but while their action may be noted, at the end of the day the person gets totally lost in time.

Julius Caesar, probably the most remembered person in all of history … what can you tell me about the kind of person he was? Who did he love? Who loved him? What did he enjoy doing? What did he want to be when he grew up? Where did he get his first kiss? What kind of dreams did he have?

All of the stuff that makes us who we are today dies with us. Our children might be able to recall a small percentage of it, but by the time our past is two generations gone, so too are we.

So the most important things we can do in life, have to do with the present … the lives we touch, the loves we share. Are the people around us better off for having spent part of their lives with us?

If the answer is “yes” then our life was worthwhile. If “no” then, rich or poor, we become simply a carved name in an old stone, that fades to obscurity with each passing year.

… just a thought!