Along a gravel road just outside of Vesta in southwestern Minnesota, the city cemetery lies to the left with the town’s grain elevator complex in the distance, just over the hill.
As a young girl, I remember fearing cemeteries, that place where my paternal grandpa was laid to rest atop a rare prairie hill when I was just nine.
A bit of history in the Holden Lutheran Church Cemetery, rural Kenyon.
But my view of cemeteries has evolved over the years so that today I see these earthly resting spots as places of faith, art, history and personal stories.
A snippet of the fence surrounding Urland Lutheran Church Cemetery in the Sogn Valley area.
I no longer focus on the bones buried beneath my feet or the newly-departed lying under a heaped mound of dirt. Rather, I find myself reading tombstones, marveling at carved stone, wondering about the lives of those who lie within the often fenced boundaries of graveyards.
The hilltop Valley Grove Church Cemetery near Nerstrand Big Woods State Park is especially picturesque during the fall.
In particular, I am drawn to country cemeteries that my husband and I happen upon during leisurely Sunday afternoon drives in rural Minnesota.
Trebon Cemetery sits next to the historic Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church west of Faribault in Shieldsville Township.
Spot a spire spearing the sky and we typically find a cemetery tucked behind or aside the church. Convenient and comforting.
Folk art in the Trebon Cemetery honors Christ and the deceased.
During this Holy Week, when Christians worldwide focus on reflection and repentance and the suffering and crucifixion of Christ, it seems fitting to revisit some of the Minnesota cemeteries I’ve explored.
Roses left at the base of the Milford Monument west of New Ulm on Memorial Day weekend in 2007. The monument honors Milford settlers who died in the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.
There is much to learn here about those who went before us—those we loved and those we never knew.
Fields and a cemetery embrace Vista Evangelical Lutheran Church in southern Minnesota.
Words to ponder in a cemetery in Theilman.
Some cemeteries are marked by handcrafted signs like this one in Cannon City.
Period appropriate art in the Cannon City Cemetery denotes a Civil War veteran’s grave.
A simple in-ground marker at Urland Lutheran Church Cemetery.
A well-tended family plot at Trebon Cemetery.
There’s something compelling about this weathered statue of the Virgin Mary at Trebon Cemetery.
You’ll find art of all sorts on tombstones, like this one in a cemetery on the west side of New Ulm.
A military marker at the Vesta City Cemetery honors my father, a Korean War vterans.
Stone against stone at Hauge Lutheran Church (the Old Stone Church) in the Monkey Valley near Kenyon.
A sculpture of Christ overlooks St. Michael’s Catholic Church Cemetery, Buckman, Minnesota.
Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling