Someone asked me one day if I still visit cemeteries. I’ve also been asked if I ever visit yantzied. (Mind you, the askers do not consider it yantzied, I just hear it that way! haha)
The answers to these questions are yes and yes. Here is proof! It is a cemetery in yantzied.
I present to you: Altbergthal!
I’ve been hearing about the cemetery in Altbergthal for about as long as I’ve been paying attention to Manitoban Mennonite-type concerns. First, Lawrence Klippenstein would write about Altbergthal sometimes, I think in Heritage Postings, but perhaps in other related publications as well. Then Pam Klassen-Dueck would occasionally post about it. I saw pictures of a wild cemetery by the creek. I was intrigued.
The intrigue only built for me as the Albergthal School was added to the Commons in Neubergthal.
Speaking of Neubergthal, Andrew and I were there for the MMHS AGM in April. I was determined to make the most of this day trip by finally visiting Altbergthal, and so when the AGM wrapped up, we drove a few miles west and found this flooded creek alongside Altbergthal Street. We followed the village street…
…which turned into a dike. For good reason! (As you can see, the creek was spilling its banks in April.)
And found the cemetery!
Granted, it was likely not the best time to visit, as half the cemetery was still covered in tall snowbanks and the other half was under water. But, you take the opportunities when they present themselves, right?
I’m glad I saw it wild, and documented it as such. Because as you can see from the feature photo, this cemetery is certainly in need of some care.
But I do love a wild cemetery. I think it contains so much magic. And that magic feels restrained or removed when the cemetery is put in order.
And from what I can recall in my scattered reading (and sorry, I have no citations to offer you) I believe this cemetery is in the process of being cared for. I believe the next time I visit, I may find it much changed.
And while I am so happy to hear of groups that take care of cemeteries… there is always a part of me that feels sadness, that its stones and ghosts and trees were not left alone.
So what was Altbergthal? What happened here? What is the village today? Well, it’s interesting because the entire village follows the wild creek so closely that homes are only on the east side of the street. It’s a lovely place. I will have to learn more about it, pay attention, and return.
(What else did we do after the AGM? I’ll have to let you know!)