Last week I zipped over to Columbia County, about the furthest east I’ve been in mainland York State*. Our first real snow fell the night before, though by noon the mix of wind-blown mist and (as the hours swept by) high-breaking clouds had wiped twigs and stubble bare.

I swung through Schoharie and Albany counties — through the mini-burgs of Berne and East Berne, Clarksville and Selkirk — then across the Hudson, onto the Taconic Parkway (for all of a half mile) and down toward the hamlet of Harlemville, where I met my hosts, Jonitha and Paul Hasse, who took me on a brisk tour of several sites that might, just might, make lovely natural burial grounds.

Jonitha runs a tiny rural cemetery just outside Harlemville. Tiny, as in less than an acre altogether: point-eight-eight acres, to be exact. After our tour we held an afternoon workshop on the nuts and bolts of making green burial work in Columbia County—and who the players might be. Jonitha has honed her skills and is ready to ramp up; now she’s looking for companions for the journey.

From that tiny cemetery comes this photo of the most striking headstone I’ve ever seen.

*More on “York State” anon. (If I get to it, that is.)

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