The Lily Must Decay

Churchyards are always a sobering experience. I love looking at gravestones and the ones in the graveyard of the ruins of Lady Kirk in Pierowall on Westray are particularly interesting. This one says “The Lily must decay.”

Gravestone - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

So must gravestones. Only the top of this one remains and the inscription is slowly being worn away. Rock decays too, not just lilies.

This stone is particularly poignant. Losing a child is heartbreaking. How must this couple’s lives have been, losing so many, so early:

Gravestone - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Am I alone in wanting their stillborn son to have had a name?

Lichens grow over the gravestones here. On this gravestone the lichens have grown together and fused:

On others there’s a battle for supremacy or an uneasy truce with a demilitarised zone between the different species of lichen:

The lichens on a gravestone will live longer than any of us ever will.

Gravestone - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

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