The typical Victorian family lot at Forest Hills is laid out to mimic
both the architecture of the family home and the structure of family
relationships. Jay Cummings has radically simplified Victorian individuality
and ornamentation into a sculptural diagram of an iconic family lot
floating on the surface of Lake Hibiscus. Water replaces the green lawn
that separates monuments on land.
Many family lots within the cemetery are well defined: a rectangular
boundary encloses markers organized around a central stone. A closer
look reveals that each plot has qualities and a history of its own,
reflecting real differences in how people live. Despite neighborhoods
varying degrees of intolerance for dissimilarity (in housing, landscaping,
building materials, architecture), each family is unique.
Family Lot is an abstraction of this idea. Like other cemetery
lots, it maintains its shape, yet responds the natural environment.
Its arrangement is neither random nor modeled on any particular lot.
Its location in Lake Hibiscus separates and distances it from its less
austere counterparts. It is a sketch, a reflection of the idea that
creates the overall aesthetic in Forest Hills: that in death, as in
life, we wish to have homes, and to be with our families.
Three small dwellings, nestled in hidden spaces, offer glimpses of the
character and experience of imagined occupants. Walsh imagines spaces
for poets Anne Sexton and ee cummings, both buried at Forest Hills.
Sextons Room is tucked into a space at the end of a stone wall.
Treehive is perched in the branches of a small crab-apple tree. The
third dwelling hides in a framed hollow, a rare space created when a
large canopy tree healed a gash; the tree stands in the middle of Camelia
Path. It refers to the stubborn persistence of what has gone, the history
of a person or place manifested in the physical traces it leaves behind.
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