Michelle Ann Kratts


In Uncategorized on May 17, 2015 at 1:52 pm


By Michelle Ann Kratts

You will find your new historian in the strangest places…usually somehow, in some way, reaching back into the past.  One of the best ways to look back is in the cemetery.  The residents are amused by your company and you will actually find this time machine quite an enjoyable experience.  I promise.


My friends and I call ourselves Ongiara.  We meet, we reach back, we love Niagara–Ongiara.  This was a sacred place in ancient times.  This still is a sacred place.  Go stand at the edge of the great cataract and you will feel the power.  She is loud and she is beautiful.  You can hear her at Oakwood Cemetery if you are very quiet.


It was said that at the very sad funeral of Colonel Peter A. Porter (who had perished on a battlefield in Virginia in 1864) Niagara sang the requiem.  Thousands stood in silence–and Niagara cried and filled that void.

teacup on gravestone


We think about that as we drink our tea in the cemetery.  In the past it was the custom to treat a cemetery as a park.  A place of great beauty, residents and travelers came to Oakwood Cemetery in Niagara Falls and stayed awhile.  A refuge, an oasis, in the middle of the city, it is still a lovely place for a picnic.


iced tea

Or to read a book.

reading at the cemetery

Quite recently a herd of deer found themselves in Oakwood.  They stayed an entire day–resting among the tombstones, munching on flowers and grass.  They knew they were safe here.


The other night a rabbit caught me by surprise from behind a tombstone.  I jumped as it scurried away and then I laughed to think that, yes, even in an old cemetery, Niagara is alive!

“Eternity Be Thou My Refuge”

Thank you to Tim Baxter, Claudia Carnes and Michelle Petrazzoulo for sharing their beautiful pictures for this story.


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