300 Year-Old Graffiti – What We Leave Behind

I tend to think a great deal about what we leave behind when we die. I’ve always been this way. I went through a period at eight where I buried every dead bug I could find in our backyard just to have a reason to talk about the impact of their little bug lives.

What might seem a morbid fascination with death and dying was more of a training ground for creative writing and I got pretty creative delivering my sad little eulogies at the funerals of the roly-poly’s who’d curled up for the last time.

After assembling a collection of stuffed animal mourners, I’d go on and on about their contributions to the bug world and how they would be missed, but not forgotten.

I wonder if the craftsman who built this wardrobe for storage or the person who painted the design on the front for beauty ever considered how long it might last after they were gone.

Even the young want to leave their mark in some way. I guess it never changes, this need to say, “ I was here.”

Yesterday, while walking through a darkened side of a cathedral in Carlisle, I discovered some names carved into the wardrobe sitting next to a stack of modern-day chairs in the photo above.

They were left long ago by what looked like young boys and seeing them makes me wonder who they grew up to be and what kind of lives they lived.

Some of the names were dated over 300 years ago. I bet they could not have imagined they would be shared one day, going all around the world on something called an internet. It makes me think a bit more about what I write and where I leave it.

Today’s my last day of 50 so I’m looking back quite naturally at the past, considering in particular this last year and what I’ve done with it.

8 thoughts on “300 Year-Old Graffiti – What We Leave Behind

  1. Very thought-provoking!

    Happy birthday, Elizabeth! I hope you have a wonderful day, and a very happy new year. It’s your birthday, but you are the giver. Thanks again for sharing your gifts of the journey with people like me. You are such an inspiration!

  2. Happy Birthday, Elizabeth! I remember seeing similar grafitti on Avignon aqeduct in stone. Similar careful lettering, many centuries old, and not a single “Joe was ‘ere”. I think what the internet sees today will be done, more’s teh pity. Or maybe I should say, “mores” the pity.

    That must have been quite the sight, you eulogising over the bug dead. If I’d heard you I’m not sure I’d have been able to keep a straight face.

  3. Carlisle cathedral you say. Did you see the runic graffiti there? It says ‘Dolfin wrote these runes on this stone’ and it’s medieval! I actually study medieval runic graffiti on churches, Norwegian wooden churches specifically, but I’m interested in all of it. This one from Carlisle is a bit the medieval runic equivalent of ‘Joe woz ‘ere’ I’m afraid though 🙂

    There is also some fascinating medieval graffiti in Lincoln cathedral, some drawings of ships and even some bits of medieval music!

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