Saturday, September 22, 2007

As I am now, so you will be

I'm trying to make good use of my time here in Goderich for the workterm. I've gone swimming once (cold) and intend to do so again (I never claimed that I was sensible). I also went out with one of my landlords' dogs this morning along a walking trail that goes over the river across the old CPR bridge.

It's quite the nice trail, old rail beds tend to be great for lazy people like me (when I have a purse and a dog I never feel like doing anything interesting, those two take up all my energy and strength). I went as far as the tomb of "Tiger" Dunlop (Dr. William Dunlop), one of the founders of the Canada Company. He and John Galt had a lot to do with the founding of the town of Goderich, as the port was developed for the settlers on the lands of the Canada Company.

Because of this history the tomb is something of a known attraction. Off the trail there is a little path leading up the hill.
After the level trail with fine gravel this little path with just dust and larger stones seems out-of-the way and untended. (Unless you're a lot more of a city kid than I am it's not). But once you get up to the top of the path there's a grassy clearing with a few pine trees. You can see that people obviously come up there not infrequently, because the grass is worn in a narrow band leading to a couple of benches set up by the tomb itself.

I read the plaque and took a little break, gave the dog some water and had some myself. I didn't sit though. I've never really been one to take long walks in graveyards, around the earthly remains of people I never knew. It set me to thinking - How would I feel if I knew that, after my death, my grave became what is essentially a minor tourist attraction? Are we showing respect or a lack thereof for Tiger Dunlop by trekking out to his lonely tomb and reading the plaque? He was more than incompetence and mismanagement, more than a town founder and politian. As I am now, so once was he. But just who am I?


JuggLer said...

I'm not sure, but I kind of feel like, if my grave is only a minor tourist attraction, it may indicate that I failed to go out with the bang that I intended to.

I know that the guy who built the Taj Mahal fully intended it to be a major tourist attraction, and I'm not sure about the Pharaohs of Egypt, but I can say that they weren't exactly into quiet, unmarked graves.

My question is, if trekking out to a lonely tomb and reading the plaque shows lack of respect, what would show respect? Staying away from the tomb? Going to the tomb but not reading the plaque?


Magpie said...

It's not going out, it's the reasons. I'm going there for the same reason I went to the beach, or would go to Benmiller. I wanted somewhere to go, and it was a destination, a local landmark. I'm sure that the local landmark you want to leave is a crater, not a tomb, no? You want your tomb to be visited for people who are honouring you, not those who are just trying to visit the town.

Or at least so I would think.

Juggler said...

Need to remember to check back on the comments I leave...

True, I suppose it is better to have people honour you than use you as the equivalent of a checkpoint. Though I still think that having something significant enough to have someone who wants to just visit the town go and see is still quite an honour.

And yes, a crater would be pretty cool. Specifically a crater with no other craters around it, so that it stands out nicely from the landscape. With perhaps a pond in the middle.
Or a tree. That would be cool too.

Yay morbidity!