Wednesday, October 12, 2005
A lonely cemetery, rugged mountains
Space. Emptiness. After congested South Florida,
driving through the jagged mountains of Colorado is an experience. Snow tops the peaks, sprinkled like powdered sugar. The cold bites into your skin with needle fangs. Back home it's 87 degrees. Back home there's no green space.
There's a majestic, but haunting loneliness to the mountains. We drove north to Silverton, ambling about the town, shopping, taking in history. I forgot to get the name of the nice lady at the Grand Imperial, who was a housekeeper there for 30 years. She told tales of hauntings, a baby crying in the basement, the tin ceiling that was the original when the hotel was built in 1882. Upstairs we roamed the hallway, peering into suites where men once housed their mistresses, peeking around the corners for glimpses of haunting spirits.
We drove further north to Howardsville, a ghost town. Peppering the mountain slopes about silverton are the corpses of old mines, abandoned now. We stopped on the way back at the Hillside Cemetery, reading the gravestones, shivering in the bitter wind sweeping down the mountain. Or was it the stark, melancholy feeling of the graves, where the silent mountains stand guard over their eternal rest?
Rich in history, tall tales and snow drifts so deep (400 inches a year) that all business shuts down in winter, and business owners board up their windows to prevent snow from breaking the glass, Silverton is a modern day ghost town. Only 300 hardy souls remain here through winter. And just north of the town, outside its limits, on a lonely mountainside slope, is a cemetery where the dead sleep, silently watched over by the rugged mountains.