Letter: Sedona cemetery spruced up during Mitzvah (Good Deed) Day
The community reached out to many residents to have an intergenerational, interfaith, day of community service in Sedona and the Verde Valley. Participants gathered at noon Nov. 5 at the Public Library to get our assignments, directions and bottled water as well as fruit and snacks to keep us going through the day. Many of the jobs required special tools and hard labor to be performed.
One of particular interest was to go to the Cedar Glade Cemetery from 1918, where Sedona Schnebly, and her relations were buried. The cemetery is by the Elks lodge off of Airport Road. This little known treasure has been neglected for many years by the heirs and residents that have ignored or simply did not know it existed.
We had loppers, rakes, bags, and many hand tools, and all met there at 12:15. We did not know each other until that moment. We immediately began to stake out areas to work in so we spread across the entire cemetery taking care to clean, clear and bag all of the debris, limbs, and cigarette butts that littered the sacred ground. It appeared as if no one had been here in years to pay tribute to the people buried here.
We were especially surprised that the granddaughter of Sedona Schnebly had written a book and had her presence wildly known here, but had not visited the ground where her grandmother lay. It was pretty badly neglected. The joy was to remove all the debris, rake and find all the crystals and beads that had been left there by someone in years past. We trimmed the tree that hangs over the three graves of Sedona, Pearl and Fredrick, so that you may sit on the bench provided under the tree and enjoy the peacefulness that is very apparent here. Meanwhile others were cutting pyracathea, elm, juniper, and other overgrown bushes, and piling them high to be bagged by all of us at the end of our work day.
I would like to quote a beautiful tribute that was written on one of the grave plots by Doris Leonard from 1976. It reads: Maybe I’ll move to Arizona where it is summer when summer should be summer. Where the cool breeze blows down the green, green canyon, and the fluffy white clouds drift high above the towering spires. Arizona! A paradise for Artists and Dreamers! So beautiful.
We invite you to visit this special place. Bring new flowers, pick up any trash, and please take a while to sit and enjoy the view and the solace of this sacred place. It is so peaceful and filled with the soul of Sedona.
If you know of anyone who would be willing to contribute a bench or a picnic table for the cemetery, please bring it to the cemetery. We will lovingly place it for all to enjoy. Our group bonded, and we have agreed to meet here once a month and continue to take care of this sanctuary.
Thank you to all who come to visit the cemetery.