For Fall leaf watchers coming to beautiful Michigan to marvel at the annual foliage show, there’s a stop you need to make – a stop that may remind you of things simple and basic, and yet profound and sublime. Watching leaves change color is simply witnessing the death of chlorophyll after all, and only King Lear has ever died prettier than that.
Skeletons can make you think, too.
Skeletons provide, in their smirking, inscrutable way, reinforcement to us all that race does not matter, that the ravages of time on our bodies does not matter, and that our time is so very brief on this earthly plane.
There is a righteous, spiritual dude named Brad Piedt who owns the Caementicium Historical Museum and Skellville, right around the fringes of Benton Harbor, Michigan. Skellville is a mini-town where skeletons dwell and where one can ponder the inevitability of life’s end, as well as the possibilities for what may happen to us after we shuffle off our mortal coil made of meat and bone. Hamlet was not quite as visceral, perhaps. Sorry about that, but still ….
Brad puts me in mind of a gregarious Dennis Hopper, especially that time he played the far out character in “Apocalypse Now” who kept pleading with Martin Sheen, “Oh man, you’re looking at the heads, man!” Only here, we are encouraged to look at the heads. And to think. They are an assemblage of tragi-comic memento moris, all lined up, insisting on at least an occasional contemplative moment.
As we pursue getaways and pursuits with only the company of ourselves and perhaps a loved one or two, as the Dark Winter lurks on ahead, it’s fun to see a bit of whimsy along the way. And tap into our spiritual side.
Piedt & Sons Historical Museum & Caementicium and Skellville
2400 M 139
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Open 10 – 4, Monday through Saturday
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