A while back, I wrote a series of posts about the memorial landscape of Dyserth, including:
- church and its early medieval sculpture & later medieval monuments;
- its 17th-century canopied tombs;
- the churchyard’s 19th- and 20th-century memorials;
- memorials around the waterfalls.
In this final blog I noted that, not only is there a dog memorial beside the stream opposite the church, there is a memorial garden replete with commemorative plaques, including a millennium oak and plaque, in front of the waterfall. I posed the question and speculation:
Are dead people and animals are supposed to appreciate the sounds of water in the afterlife? As discussed previously, the aesthetics of memorials need not reflect a clear and singular vision of afterlife destination or the spiritual presence of the dead at these locations. Instead, within a Christian and secular context, I suspect they operate as ways of connecting the sensory experiences of the living with those anticipated/imagined as soothing or consoling for the dead.
My point was that I don’t think that there need be a single significance, in the modern world, to the commemorative significance of water, and waterfalls in particular. They can be regarded as ‘holy’ or ‘spiritual’ places because of imagined pagan or Christian (or both) traditions, or simply as places connected with renewal or contemplation.
I went back last November and identified some further dimensions to the commemorative dimensions of the waterfall. I noticed that there is a memorial to someone who worked in the nearby shop: place linked in life and death.
Then I noticed there were also floral offerings at the falls themselves. Moreover, it looked as if more than one offering is being made, although it is unclear whether these are offerings to the same individual.
Was someone drowned at the falls? I quick internet search suggests not.