Go with granite.

There is a road by my house called Cemetery Hill. Today on my walk, spurred by curiosity, I followed it up the hill for a mile or so and found an honest-to-goodness 130-year old cemetery, like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

According to the Texas Historical Commission plaque, Furneaux Cemetery was created when Mr. Furneaux (an English immigrant) died and willed part of his extensive farmland set aside for a public cemetery. He was the first ... resident? Interree? Occupant? Whatever you call it, I'm sure you get my meaning.

I love old cemeteries and always have. You can walk through them and see whole dynasties, and put together some pretty compelling stories. This couple lost a child at a young age, that woman survived her husband by 40 years, and on and on, just by paying attention to the information on the stones. I often like to speculate on what those people were like, and what they'd think if they could pop their heads up and take a quick look around at the way their community has changed since they left it.

As I walked back home, past rows upon rows of dingy, cheap tract housing, I had the familiar sensation of grasping for history. That cemetery is probably the oldest thing within 30 miles. As Americans, we've been dazzled by everything that is newer, bigger, better! In our pursuit of those things, we bulldoze our past and build over the lot. Maybe it's vestiges of a frontier mentality; maybe those old buildings, which surely must've been there 130+ years ago, were never really meant to last, anyway. And it's not the buildings themselves that are important, though they might be interesting to look at, were they still around. It's the sense of history; the physical reminders that lead to the constant, conscious knowledge that others were here before. Just think - on that exact spot where you're sitting, generations of other people have lived and died. I think we overlook that all too often. Of course, it's important to look to the future and live in the present, but without knowledge of the past, the present can feel empty or confusing. History doesn't always repeat itself, but the past puts the present into context.