Friday, April 30, 2010

A grave with a view

The view is east across the Des Moines River from the Vernon Cemetery towards Bentonsport.
I've been sorting snapshots --- remember those? Back in the day before digital photography. Several that turned up were taken between five and 10 years ago in the Bentonsport-Vernon neighborhood, down in Van Buren County. The season obviously was fall and my dad would have been standing by the truck off to the left --- we used to roam a lot on weekends and both of us enjoyed it. Don't do it so much now. Not as much fun to roam alone.

Anyhow, I took these two shots because I was interested in the rusty iron fence surrounding the tombstone and the view of the Des Moines River and Bentonsport beyond. The composition isn't great, but both the fence and the view are.

This is in the Vernon Cemetery and I don't know who is buried in the enclosure. Sorry. But like I said, I was more interested in the fence and the view.

The cemetery, perched as close to the edge of the bluff on the west side of the river as it can get without tumbling in, served Bentonport's twin, the ghost town of Vernon. Bentonsport has a cemetery, too --- turn east at the old Presbyterian church and drive to the top of the bluff on that side. But it's farther from the river, lacks a view and is less atmospheric.

What's left of Vernon today is best known because of the Vernon schoolhouse, a lovely stone building that served as watercolorist Wendell Mohr's home and studio until his death at age 82 in May of 2008.

You have to work to figure out how to get to the cemetery, since the trip involves driving down what looks like someone's lane after turning off the new pavement that curves out north around Vernon and down to the new river bridge that will take you across to Bentonsport and then, if you're smart, on south and east to Bonaparte.

I've no particular interest in being buried in the Vernon Cemetery, despite the view, but It's getting to be about time to drive down thataway and enjoy it again.

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