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MAE JULIAN

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TO EACH IS GIVEN GIFTS

 

I met Mary through a series of Emails that started when she contacted the Waynedale News. Her request was sent to me, by our editor, and thus started our friendship of communication. Mary is a gifted person, although I am sure she doesn't see herself as such, which is true of many artists. She is fascinated with cemeteries. Not just interested. No, more than that. She has sought out cemeteries in many states, studied the tombstones, and taken photographs of those which most captured her interest. She keeps all her pictures in albums and studies over them, as a late witness in the lives of those who have gone ahead.

Mary's experience began when she went to visit her grandmother many years ago and found herself in a world unfamiliar to her. A graveyard. The crypts, granite tombstones, and markers touched her in a way that most would not notice. One who is gifted will make note of that which others pass quickly by. I invited her to come to Louisville, spend the night, and take all the time she wanted in Cave Hill Cemetery. You may remember that I wrote about Cave Hill several issues ago.

Mary needed to come to see Cave Hill. It is quite impressive, I admit, and I have been there many times. I always go at the change of each season, as the whole cemetery becomes anew with different flowers, and foliage. Some of the trees are hundreds of years old and everything in the cemetery is protected. No artificial flowers are allowed and guards keep a close eye on the beautifully manicured acres of peace. It has five lakes, birds, waterfowl, and peacocks. Going there is wonderful in the migrating season as so many different species pass through that one would not ordinarily see.

But, going with Mary was an entirely new experience. Imagine going to a museum many times, and thinking you have seen everything, and then going with an artist. These artists, like Mary, give us new eyes. She sees the tiniest cherub and she moves slowly upon it as if she might startle it and have it fly away. Her cameras are adapted to capture the very slightest impression on a tombstone, or the distance required for the soldier's field. I found that going with Mary was a spellbinding experience. I felt like I had to hold my breath as she approached one after another creation with her camera. It seemed the slightest breath would disturb the artist's work. The scrutinizing eye of Mary will take you places you never noticed, or cared about. After the journey with this artist, I will never look at Cave Hill the same way again.

To all of us, a gift is given. It is for us to feel it to the depths of our souls and go about making real the things others would not imagine. It is so heartening to find one such as Mary who does not question her gift, but goes quietly about marking the lives of those gone by, with her camera. I wish that each of you could sit with Mary and page through her albums. It is a fascinating and adventurous experience. I have, since that time, tried to broaden my awareness of things that might otherwise be mundane. I try to pay more attention, and to see the things that Mary might see.

For each of you, no matter how humble or small you feel, you have been given a gift. It is inside for you to discover. These gifts that are given to us are greater than anything we could earn, or attempt to obtain. Be grateful for the things that are innate. For these things are of God. Blessings to my Waynedale friends, Mae

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