One of the hidden gems of my neighborhood is the Mill Road Cemetery. Most of the graves are from the mid- or late-19th century, when the area was just being developed. The cemetery as an old-timey and ramshackle feel, and is also always (paradoxically) full of life – most of Cambridge is so dense that there isn’t much space for trees, but the cemetery has plenty, plus birds and squirrels and people walking dogs.
As part of the Mill Road festival this weekend, the Friends of the Cemetery group gave free tours, which naturally I took. I learned all sorts of really cool stuff about iconography – for example, the resurrection fern featured on one of the headstones is a plant that can appear completely dead but, when watered, will return to health (Sam Beam explains in the video below). There is also a pagan symbol, the green man, made entirely out of leaves or with leaves coming out of its mouth, that can be found on many headstones and in churches (usually hidden, since its pagan) around Britain.
When we first moved here, I detoured through the Mill Road Cemetery often – there’s a cut-through near our house and there’s also a pub, the Cambridge Blue, with an entrance from the cemetery – but I hadn’t been there in a few weeks. On a sunny day, its one of the most beautiful places in Cambridge – which is saying a lot, because Cambridge is a city full of beautiful places.