Take a stroll with us if you will. Explore Neenah on foot with the High School students of teacher Tara Meinke’s class in the Arete program. We will be exploring the community with these students and seeing Neenah through their eyes in “Walking Neenah.”
Fall to me is a mixture of both calm and chilling, what better way to mix them than a walk through the cemetery? Walking through Oak Hill Cemetery in the fall is my favorite time to take a walk. Cemeteries aren’t the most highlighted parts of cities, but walking through the front gates on a breezy day is something to highlight. When I stroll through the gates I hear muffled noises of the wind blowing through the surrounding trees, both shifting into their autumn colored leaves and shaking them down to get ready for the upcoming winter. Although the wind is like an aggressor howling in my ears, the cars have equal power, honking horns and rumbling engines driving on the overpass. The cemetery standing strong since 1847, Oak Hill is the second oldest public burying grounds in the U.S., walking through, a number of chipped moss covered and even broken headstones still stand from the years passed. A variety of flowers from loving visitors sit next to those who rest in peace, flags next to those who fought for our safety. Going near the end of the day is just as fulfilling as any other time of day, as long as you don’t get too spooked.
When the sun is setting and the street lights are turning on to shine over the dime streets, is a great time to walk through Oak Hill. Although the expectations of cemeteries at night are creepy and not well liked, you’ll notice how much you can take in from just looking around sunset-to- night. In the trees I hear the restlessness of raccoons and other nocturnal animals trying to get from place to place. The owl that hoots from the next tree over sings its song as if I was the audience and the tree was the stage. The cemetery isn’t very lighted at night so flashlights are essential to see the concrete paths. The echoing noises from cars driving around Oak Hill are still heard as I walk through. Other than the complete sound of nature and the polluted sound of cars, I Hear nothing but wind and quiet from the night. I get this calming feeling like it’s a place where I can focus without any distraction.
Fall is the best choice to go take a visit to Oak Hill cemetery. The leaves are changing colors and the aroma of nearby fires will fill your nose. Oak Hill is such a quiet and calm place, a wonderful place for passed loved ones and well taken care of by the employees. The atmosphere when walking through Oak Hill is something everyone should experience when coming to and being in Neenah, overlooking the spooky feeling and misconceptions about cemeteries.
-Walking Neenah Article by Student Lexi Allen