Tuesday, 29 November 2011

365 blips

I'm finding it incredibly hard to believe that I will post my 365th blip today. That's one whole year of consecutive blipping. In case you're not familiar with the Blipfoto site yet, the whole premise is that you take a photo every day (although this is not obligatory) and upload it to the day you've taken the picture (that bit is a definite requirement). I first read about the site in the Scotland on Sunday newspaper, had a tentative look, signed up and posted my very first photo on the 30th November 2010. It was a very snowy picture!

Of course I knew my 365th one was coming up so when I discovered the above gravestone in Penicuik Graveyard a week or so ago, I decided to save photographing it for today. Not that blipping has made me feel like a skeleton, merely that this is the best (if that's the right word) gravestone I've found so far and it seemed worthy of the honour.

The gravestone dates back to 1709 and the text on the banner reads: Vive Memor Lethi, which translates literally as Live mindful of Death, or more elaborately Live as though today were your last. Not something I continually think about but I do try very hard to live in the moment, every moment. Blipfoto is very much part of that. In the year I've been blipping I have become much more aware than ever before of my surroundings and the accompanying photo opportunities. I have rediscovered my love of graveyards, but also of flowers, the beautiful Borders landscape and the love I feel for my adopted homeland.

I will continue, of course, and try as much as possible to post one photo every day come what may, and regardless of my pathetic dial-up connection. It's simply a challenge but also fun, fun, fun!! And I'm sure my photography has improved but mainly I have become even more alert to the visual beauty that comes across my path in all its various forms. My eye sees and registers more than it did 365 days ago.

This gravestone gets a mention in Stones; 18th Century Scottish Gravestones, a book by Betty Willsher & Doreen Hunter. They describe the front as featuring grim Death, flaked by two naked figures; a macabre and horrible scene, this, on a blackened and shadowed stone. Well, as it rained non-stop today (I needed a large brolly to protect my Canon DSLR!) and stayed dark all day, the stone looked exactly like that, but I was also amazed by the beautiful carving. The skeleton is Death itself and I can only surmise that the two figures represent the dead mentioned on the reverse of the stone. They seem to be standing on top of skulls. I wish I knew more or could discover more but this is all I have come up with so far.

Above you can see the reverse where the text can hardly be read anymore, although I think the beginning says the following: here lyes IAI?? Melrose, spouse to John Hodge???? etc.

On the reverse the gravestone has a splendid winged hourglass, a symbol of mortality, reminding us that time is passing till the end comes. Hopefully however my blipping will continue for many more years to come. I can't quarantee that I will be able to blip every day (although I'll try!!) but I will do the best I can. I know some people find my taste for graveyards hard to understand, in a way I do myself, but they draw me in and it's safe to predict that gravestones and graveyards will feature a lot on my future blips too, as they did on my past ones this year.

1 comment:

fabriquefantastique said...

off to the blip site. I also have this 'thing' about graveyards.


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