Sweet Auburn: The Magazine of the Friends A Landscape of Remembrance and Reflection | Page 10

Imagining the Woodland Sanctuary From top to bottom: Mountain Laurel, Persian Ironwood, Ginger, Oriental Spruce Historic nineteenth-century etchings of Mount Auburn show men in top hats and women with parasols strolling through picturesque corridors, stopping to reflect at impressive monuments. In that sublime moment, nature, death, and remembrance are unified. The new Woodland Sanctuary honors this partnership but does so by inviting people inside spaces of intensified nature and by embedding remembrance and reflection into that landscape experience, rather than into monuments alone. Awe, joy, beauty, authenticity, and peacefulness were guiding words. Of course, the Woodland Sanctuary also needed to support a functioning ecosystem and, through sales of Remembrance Stones and monuments, to help keep the Cemetery financially sustainable into the future. The essence of the design lies in balancing the similarities and differences of this particular landscape moment with the rest of the Cemetery experience. It borrows from the naturalistic drama of Consecration Dell’s plunging path, dauntingly steep woodland slopes, and quietude. While the Dell provides a strong contrast to the more manicured and paved surfaces common to the lower regions of Mount Auburn, Hazel Path is the transition between the two. Perched above the Dell, Hazel Path’s woodland is more botanical, with floriferous groundcovers and shrubs. These glades, made possible by breaks in the canopy, were created by the removal of weak trees and those that would unavoidably be harmed during construction. Letting in varied light and water allowed diversification of the adapted and native species below and at the edges of the woodland canopy: Persian Ironwood, Oriental Spruce, Mountain and Sheep Laurel, Dwarf Fothergilla, Rhododendron, Plum Yew, Viola, Wild Ginger, Foam Flower, Sedge, and more. It is our hope that the composition of the woodland floor will continue to drift over time in response to expected but unpredictable climate change. Glacial boulders, a rarity in the Cemetery, were introduced to the site to heighten its naturalistic appearance and to further broaden landscape experiences. The glaciated boulders and woodland plants mix, covering the hillsides and spilling over the edges of paths. Woodland trails weave through this landscape, creating a sanctuary removed from main routes. Hazel Path is an active interment ground that accommodates the public’s growing desire for burial of cremated remains in places that are infused with the unique beauty of Mount Auburn. Some of the glaciated boulders, numbering over two hundred, are designated as “Remembrance Stones,” to be engraved over time as cremated remains are buried. The boulders were selected for their form and appearance and 8