Project Athena - Day 147 (Graves)

A Million Ways to Die in the West

Cowboys and pioneers, come lend your eyes and ears.
I’ve got the need to testify.
Don’t try to fill your nest out in the open west
’cuz there’s a million ways to die.

Six bullets in the gut or just a paper cut
Too many ways to quantify.
They’ll cut your ankle off to cure a minor cough
’cuz there’s a million ways to die.
A million ways to die

It’s a hundred and one in the shade of the sun.
If you fall asleep, you fry.
A million ways to die
You can live like a saint but there just really ain’t
no avoiding a million ways to die.

Smallpox and bigger pox, and deadly tomahawks
Or God forbid you steal a pie.
They’ll blast you into shards for bein’ good at cards.
’cuz there’s a million ways to die.

Out on the desert plains it hardly ever rains
and you can hear coyotes cry.
They’ll eat you up and then they’ll shit you out again
’cuz there’s a million ways to die.
A million ways to die

With a whoosh and a whack there’s a knife in your back
’cuz you got a fancy tie...
A million ways to die
It’s a kick in the pants but you don’t have a chance
of escaping a million ways to die.
A million ways to die
— Alan Jackson

I have to admit that I am happy to see graves as a theme come to an end. All this thought about death and dying has left me feeling somewhat raw.

In conclusion, today, I walked around the Fort Collins Grandview Cemetery, a place I have avoided my whole life. It was surreal in some ways seeing the endless sea of headstones and knowing there were bodies of people I once knew buried somewhere in here. I was looking in particular for the graves of some early pioneers that were once buried in some other cemetery but were moved to this one as the city grew. I ran across this old grave of Tillie A. Irvine from 1880. Turns out she was one of two victims who died in an historic fire in downtown Fort Collins, the cause of which remains unknown but it is suspected to have been arson. As if there weren't enough challenges to staying alive in the West back then.

From this perspective, I am very grateful for the time in which I was born and the sophisticated culture in which I live. Simple things like clean running water and warm winter gear just can't be taken for granted when I consider the grave obstacles faced by these early settlers.

Smiling to be in a warm cozy house with windows and doors that close all the way.

R.I.P. Tillie A. Irvine

Nikon D3200 • Nikon 18-55mm lens • 26mm • F/4.2 • 1/1250s • ISO 400