This was the first time that I attended the Equinox Vigil. I was primarily motivated because it was a lovely evening for weather. For the first days, leaves were dancing down the street…a slight wind, warm sun, blue sky dappled in cloud, cool air. It was a perfect autumn evening. The fall equinox falls on Wednesday of this coming week.
I thought that I would bring to the non-denominational event, thoughts and prayers for my dearly departed Mom and my family. I would open up to a reflective and prayerful evening in the Union Cemetery. The evening opened with a beautiful sky and dance. This piece, Rico. Michael was a piece created with Calgary’s departed, Michael Green, at heart.
Various musicians were present to the event…first and throughout the evening, Simon Fisk and Robin Tufts. Their music was both haunting and spirit-charged. Absolutely beautiful. I stood in the dark at one point and just listened and was moved because of this powerful setting. I wrote Mom’s name on one of the Memorial Lanterns, lanterns that would be processed twice throughout the evening…light in a dark place. This ritual felt a lot like writing Mom’s name into the Book of Remembrance at my parish church. Each year, when the Book of Remembrance is placed for all to see, I pray for her peace and our peace…those left behind and missing her.
and Kris Demeanor, poet and musician. At the top of the hill, at the M Horseshoe of the Union Cemetery Rayne-Anne Latchford illuminated lives, by sharing with us, a number of stories of personalities who lived in Calgary, but who passed and are now laying, for the most part, in unmarked graves. She has a passion for history and for the narratives of people. She also spoke beautifully about how ‘now’ is the time to share stories with one another and to connect with our families. It is the stories that will remain.
I could listen to historian, Harold Sanders for hours. Thank you, for sharing with us history of Calgary’s cemeteries and letting us know just how much we can learn from the people who are resting in our midst. I hope to have opportunity to return to Union Cemetery in the light of day and make some discoveries on my own. Being surrounded by music for the evening added to the atmosphere of the sacred. Thank you to the Calgary Renaissance Singers & Players for their beautiful sound.
Beautiful installations were sprinkled throughout the Cemetery pathways…this one, the Breath of Life Memorial by Eveline Kolijn.
As it became dark, I settled in with a hot cup of spiced tea and chatted with friends. It was good to see you Michelena, Billy, Jenn, Bev, Bill, Steve, Don and friends and Dale. Walking alone, down the hill, the sky appeared lighter than the ancient evergreens that flanked me. I looked up and gave thanks to my ancestors. I also prayed for the many students who have passed away since teaching them…for my daughter’s and son’s friends who have passed…for my relations, most recently, my Auntie Margaret and my Uncle Bob.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace.