We huffed up the tower at the Mount Auburn cemetary and saw the city of Boston spread out before us. An astonishing view. It was a little chilly, but there were no clouds and the sun lit up the trees below us magnificently. We had walked over from Harvard Square, after a delightful lunch at Sandrine's Bistro. Walking briskly in the sun kept the chill off. Lynn is reading a novel, the central plot points of which take place at Mount Auburn, so she wanted to see it. The walk was just the thing after some trout & frites & a bottle of Crozes-Hermitage.
Truly sacred spaces exude a calm that touches the receptive heart as soon as you approach. At Mount Auburn, with all of the monuments and gravestones, one doesn't feel at all surrounded by death; one is surrounded by life and the love of friends and family. Their literature claims that it is the most beautiful cemetary in the world. Walking from the stunning consecration dell, where a little pond at the bottom of the path feels like a baptismal font for an entire city, up to the top of the tower, one is certainly inclined to agree.
The feeling of magnificence and the upwelling of spirit was similar the day before when we stopped in to visit Trinity Church. My interest in the church was sparked two years ago when, in reading up on Henry Adams in anticipation of spending some time in Boston, I found that one of his best friends, H.H. Richardson, was the architect. Then, in investigating further, I found what an important role in the life of the city the Trinity congregation has continued to play. So I was delighted when we checked into our hotel room to see that we were looking out on the church, and on our way to lunch the other day we stopped in.
They're doing some massive renovations, so the vault itself is obscured by heavy scaffolding, but you can still get a sense of what it's going to be like when the renovation is done. And the stained glass windows, with designs by LaFarge and Burne-Jones are truly stunning.
I don't think one needs to be a Christian to know that there is something profound happening in these spaces. It is something that human beings need -- the true sense of connection to the deeper mysteries of life and death and community. Sacred spaces provide the physical manifestation of that spiritual world.