Bare Ruined Choirs, an 8x8 plein air by Shirley Fachilla
This is a chapel in the Mt. Olivet Cemetery in my hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. Mt. Olivet is on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s a beautiful cemetery, filled with famous and not-so-famous Nashvillians, some of whom had both grandiose and quirky notions of what their final resting place should be.
And though the cemetery is immaculate, this chapel has been abandoned and deserted for some time now. A new more accessible chapel was built in 1996, one with plenty of parking. For awhile this one was left open and became a repository for beer cans and other more embarrassing rubbish. Now there’s a chain link fence around it and it’s been left to fall apart in solitude.
I thought of Shakespeare’s “bare ruined choirs’ when I first saw it on a brilliant spring day filled with new growth and promise. (Not to seem more literate than I am, I remembered the phrase but not the author.) The new for the chapel was the new grass growing in its gutters. According to Historic Nashville, it’s one of the city’s most endangered historic buildings. Sadly, I can only agree.