St Michael's in the Nicola Valley
The old Highway 5A runs from Merritt to Kamloops up the Nicola Valley. It is a beautiful road, and allows one to avoid the arid Coquihalla. On it is this graveyard, established in 1905 by St Michael's Anglican Church. Most of the old graves are fenced off, ranging from a plain picket fence to chain threaded through four corner granite posts, to a very elaborate wrought iron fence and gate. Some of the headstones, most from around 1910, are granite or marble, beautifully carved, elaborately inscribed
It is a dry landscape, dry grass, pines and sage; the fences are quite precise delineations of territory, even in death. Clearly the grass is mowed here at some point during the year, keeping down weeds and sage, so one finds even today, a century later, the fences often enclose a kind of indigenous garden. There are new graves in this little cemetery, closer to the river, so this isn't entirely an archival landscape. No fences for the new sites, but lots of flowers which sit in all their plastic gaiety like bedspreads.