Sacred Spaces

Saturday 18 August 2012

"I felt an uncommon lightheartedness, not sad at all. I felt that he might silently step from the mist and tap me on my shoulder. It seems right for him to be buried in Paris. The rain began in earnest. I wanted to leave because I was so wet, but I felt rooted. I had the uneasy feeling that if I did not flee I would turn into stone, a statue armed by hyacinths."
— Patti Smith, Just Kids

Books so easily allow us to escape to other places, but every so often, they let us revisit a place we've been — a sacred space we've fallen in love with while far away on an adventure. I loved revisiting Père Lachaise Cemetery, and Jim Morrison's grave, through the eyes or Patti Smith, whose own personal story was so tied to Jim Morrison, as she explains in her memoir, Just Kids

Like Smith, Jordan and I visited the cemetery on a rainy autumn day. She was 26, and we were 27, the same age Morrison was when he died. Smith stopped at a florist located just outside the cemetery, where she bought a cluster of hyacinths. At the time of her visit, Morrison's grave had no marker like it does today, however, just like when we visited, the grave was scattered with cigarette butts, empty liquor bottles, and other "strange charms."

“I was very tired. I was twenty-six years old. All around me the messages written in chalk were dissolving like tears in the rain. Streams formed beneath the charms, cigarettes, guitar picks. Petals of flowers left on the flat of earth above Jim Morrison floated like bits of Ophelia’s bouquet.”

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