" Synchromysticism:
The art of realizing meaningful coincidence in the seemingly mundane with mystical or esoteric significance."

- Jake Kotze

December 11, 2013

Mt. Thompson: The Place Beyond the Pines?

Mt. Thompson Memorial Gardens
I was reading Chuck Palahniuk's book Fugitives and Refugees
and he wrote about spending a lot of time hanging around this place in Portland -
Wilhelm’s Portland Memorial
and writing his book Survivor.
So, I decided to head up to my local crematorium with my camera and take some photos of the grounds that I have spent many a sad day in, and no doubt will again soon ... hopefully not for my final visit though;-)
This place is kind of like Hollywood for the dead, with its long palm tree lined driveway up to where the final act is performed, if you happen to be the star of the show on the day.
Luckily it was a day of rest around here, being a Sunday, but for the permanent residents everyday must feel like a Sunday to them.
 There are two chapels in the grounds, but this is the one I've spent most of my time in farewelling ... mainly family members who have passed on.
The last one here was my father-in-law's funeral about three years ago.
I still remember those glass doors above slamming shut in dramatic style right at the end of my wife's grandfather's funeral when a storm developed coming from the direction of the hospital he had died in and ended exactly when his service ended.
As soon as we got outside there was no trace of the storm clouds in the sky.
It was a truly weird experience indeed.
The other chapel is the West Chapel.
The West Chapel does seem to have a more religious quality to it.
 And the roof pattern on the West Chapel roof is rather trippy with all of those octagons.
And this side piece to the West Chapel reminded me of all the lattice work on the 'Tommy' album cover.
British director Ken Russell attends the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) at the 35th Anniversary of the Who's "Tommy" on May 21, 2010, in Beverly Hills, California. 
The Oscar-nominated director died in his sleep at the age of 84.  
Ken Russell poses with Tommy album
A scene from the movie Tommy
As far as octagons go, they are everywhere around here.
... and gazebos
Octagons as gazebos?
I personally liked all the pinecones lying around, because to me pinecones represent the Pineal gland in the brain, which is linked to cosmic experiences between the body and the universe.
And there are plenty of places to sit down and reflect on life, before your brain is turned to ash and interned with all the other stars who had their day of fame here before becoming just one more brick in the wall.
It's a great place to explore on the weekend, when no funerals are taking place and you have the whole place to yourself ... and who knows Chuck, I might just write a more popular novel than Fight Club or Survivor from within these grounds ... and I will be very well aware of deadlines in this place, as well;-)

UPDATE: March 16th, 2017
My father was cremated here in September 2016.
The Poinciana tree at Mt. Thompson
The weird thing though when I read this post in hindsight is that the day I took all of the above photos I had parked my old car under a poinciana tree and my father's ashes were scattered under the poinciana tree in the family backyard at my mum's house, because the crematorium wanted something like $3000 to place his ashes there after already forking out over $5000 for the service.
My old car and the Poinciana tree at Mt. Thompson in 2013
'Australian Christmas Tree' by Frieda Hughes 
Frieda Hughes and the Shamanic Spirit of Art?
The Poinciana tree in my mother's backyard
my father's ashes were placed
My father grew that tree from a seed pod he found at Cleveland on Brisbane's bay-side of town.


  1. Looks to be an attractive final resting place - as long as you don't have the starring role.

    Good to see the photos and part of your world.

    I remember collecting pine cones as a kid to predict the weather with and to paint silver for Christmas.

  2. It looks like a majestic place. And all those octagons: do they have a particular significance? That one photio is very trippy....almoot looks like a transparent head superimposed over the picture.

  3. @Trish
    Re: "...almost looks like a transparent head superimposed over the picture"

    That's my head reflecting off the glass doors.The Chapels are locked up on the weekends.

  4. About 20 feet from the wall of a Confederate prison a line was drawn, called a dead line. Prisoners trying to escape would be shot if they crossed that line. That’s where the “dead” portion entered the description. Actually it was a “don’t cross” line.