The Winthrop Street Cemetery was my last stop on the Secret Garden Tour on Sunday. Not because it was the actual last stop but because I was about to pass out from the heat. This part of town is completely sheltered from those wonderful ocean breezes and I found myself calling my mother to pick me up (which probably hasn’t happened since seventh grade.)
During the tour, one of the shuttle drivers told me that this is where the people who died on the Mayflower were buried. So when I arrived at the checkpoint, I asked very excitedly, “Where are the pilgrims?” Blink. Blink. Seriously? It’s hot. Just show me the pilgrims.
It’s really kind of a cool place —a small scrub pine forest mixed with sand and really old graves.
There’s the pilgrims!
Hmmm … so we don’t actually know if they were buried here. We’re just guessing.
In any case, I am glad I saw it, even as I crouched in the tiny shade print of a crabapple tree, sweat dripping down my back, bugs biting at my knees, waiting for my ride. The smell of the pine needles alone brings me back to my childhood on the Cape. It is inextricably entwined with this place and must have been exactly what those dead pilgrims smelled when they were here. Or there. Or over there. Or wherever they may actually have been.