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Cindy Maddera


Sometimes when I'm out of ideas for a Love Thursday entry, I scroll through my pictures on Flickr or Instagram for inspiration. This time of year, Flickr usually invites people to share one photo to their "Your Best Shot of 2013" group, so I'd already been looking over some of the photos I've taken this past year for my contribution to the group. Of course it goes without saying that the Ireland trip takes center stage in my great photos of this year. There was one photo from that trip that turned out better than I expected and is my favorite of all the photos from this year.

Patrick Evans

I chose this photo as my best shot to add to the Flickr group. I've done so many cemetery posts here. By now you know that I have a thing for old headstones. There's a common theme in my Ireland photos. I took pictures of flowers, churches or tombstones. The thing that captured my interest for this picture was not necessarily the headstone, but what had been left in remembrance for the person buried here. The cemetery is in Inch on the Dingle Peninsula and sits facing the bay. It's surrounded by a stone fence, the kind that you see scattered all over the Irish country side. When you step off the gravel path that separates the cemetery from the road, you step into spongy earth. The ground is soft and green. On that day you could tell that someone had tried to mow a few paths into the cemetery. Most of the ground cover looked like mint but were prickly like thistle and the air smelled like herbal tea and the sea. I felt those smells enter my clothes as I crouched to take this picture.

The jar had been there for some time. It was cracked on the back side and the plastic flowers were faded. I wanted to know the story behind this memorial. Any one can leave plastic flowers. Any one can leave a bottle of the departed's favorite booze. The grave site for that famous golfer in the Oakland cemetery in Atlanta was covered with golf balls. You would expect a lover to leave behind something with romantic symbolism. Instead, someone has left behind a jar containing a small plastic saint and plastic aquarium like foliage. I assume that the saint is Saint Patrick given the name on the headstone and that, well, Ireland, but the little dog at the feet of the statue makes me think differently. There are a bazillion different saints for a bazillion different reasons. The easiest choice for this guy is Saint Patrick. The other thing about this little memorial is where it was placed. It's not sitting on or directly next to the headstone, but placed towards the center of the actual grave. I don't know if this is meant to protect the grave or to protect the outside from what is in the grave (I've been watching season 2 of American Horror Story). Either way, there is something that pulled me to this particular spot and when I sat down to edit this picture, I really didn't have to do much to it. The picture was meant to be, just as the jar was meant to be placed near the center of the grave.

Happy Love Thursday.