Feathers

Eldridge Cemetery, Burlington, Vermont

Next to the Burlington International Airport lies the Eldridge Cemetery, a small graveyard tucked in between a busy street and the airport.  Halfway back and on the right-hand side of the cemetery is the grave of Ruth A. Stuart Kimball, the 30-year old wife of John Kimball, who died September 26, 1852.

In the top third of her gravestone is a simple pair of intricately carved wings.  Given the proximity to the airport, you might think it has something to do with flight, such as the wings that a pilot or a flight attendant wears that signifies their occupations.  But, the invention of the airplane was decades away when Ruth Kimball died in 1852.  The feather in this motif, however, does represent flight of a different kind–the flight of the soul of man to Heaven.   

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