History rests quietly in the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery on the otherwise lively University of Chapel Hill Campus. Oaks, maples, cedars, and pines shade this death march through time, which began with George Clarke, a Burke County student at the university, who died September 28, 1798. Monuments, obelisks, tables, slabs, and nameless fieldstones mark the passing of generations . . . students, professors, artists, unknown slaves, Confederate soldiers, townspeople.
As the day faded, a bird led me over the low stone wall and deeper into seclusion, hopping from limb to branch to gravestone until he perched on this obelisk—a flash moment, then gone.
Can death be sleep, when life is but a dream,
And scenes of bliss pass as a phantom by?—”On Death” by John Keats