Today was the last 2013 cleanup day at the San Lorenzo Pioneer Cemetery. I missed the previous one, but wasn't going to miss this one, too! It was scheduled for 9am-1pm, but I figured I'd only go from 9-11, as I had other things I needed to do today. Not to mention I figured I'd be exhausted after two hours of "yard work".
I arrived a little before 9am, wondering what kind of cleanup you do on a cemetery that has NO grass or bushes and very few trees except around the edges. Well, the biggest problem with a place like this, located across the street from a shopping center and right next to a freeway on-ramp is... trash!! You would not believe the amount of accumulated trash I picked up, much of it receipts, wrappers and sauce packets from the Taco Bell right across the street. Because there are so few plants of any real size, the trash blows right in, but the grave stones and borders often prevent it from blowing out again. There was also an incredible amount of broken glass, mostly from bottles. I have a feeling people manage to climb the fence and go in there to drink beer, etc. at night.
At around 10:40, I was talking to another volunteer while taking a quick break when it started to rain. The weather ouija board had said there was an 80% chance of rain today, so I was prepared for that. But it didn't just rain... it poured! In less than ten minutes we were getting drenched. I decided it was close enough to 11, so I left, and didn't feel guilty about not staying for the whole thing, because I don't think they were going to stay any longer, either. Apparently the cemetery has very poor drainage, so when it rains hard, it frequently floods as well!
Back at home now, I'm tired and extremely sore, but very pleased that I was able to keep my committment on this one. I think I pulled a few shoulder muscles, but I feel like it was worth it. Next time I'll bring a camera, but in the meantime, here are a few more pics that someone else took on a sunnier day.
An energetic volunteer...
You can see how the earth has shifted over time, so that some of the stones are leaning, or have even fallen over:
Most of the weeds were dead long before today, so instead of the lovely green accents in the pics above, we found only dried, prickly yellow and brown plant corpses...
There are waayyy too many tombstones here that are broken; some are even missing entirely, with only a bit of the base still sticking up out of the ground to show where it used to be. I'm SO looking forward to the workshops in tombstone cleaning and repair planned for next year!