More than lights.....


After last year’s annual Monastery Memorial Tree Lighting was virtual, this year’s event was something we were all looking forward to. Memorial trees have always been a staple here in town but after the past year’s events, this one was something more.

After all the paperwork was submitted and the trees were placed on the grounds of the Monastery, residents from all over town and beyond came to decorate their own special section of the display. Solar lights, interesting tree toppers, signs, pictures and so much more were placed on each tree in honor of someone or something very special. More trees than ever seemed to adorn the grounds this season.


This past Sunday evening was the much anticipated tree lighting event. Our family, who generally runs late, arrived at around 15 minutes before the scheduled time and we couldn't even get past the entrance sign-residents poured into the event. Thankfully, we were able to park off site and use the convenient trails to make it on time. Once at the event, we grabbed some hot chocolate courtesy of JJ Duffy Funeral Home and headed over to our tree. Shortly after 5 pm, the switch was thrown and the scene became electric, literally and figuratively. It was an awe inspiring moment that truly embodied what the Cumberland Community represents-it was an honor to witness it. After a couple clam cakes from Mickey G’s, some pics and visiting with some friends, we headed home.


That was only part of the story though. On my way home from work the very next day, I drove through the grounds once more. It was a much different and somber scene this time. No festivities, no parking issues, no traffic. Just drove the loop and took in the extraordinary amount of lit memorials in silence, I could not imagine a more fitting tribute to those we have lost, those we miss, and those that will never be forgotten. For all of the fanfare and jubilation the night before at an absolutely incredible event, the lit trees against the backdrop of silence was infinitely more powerful. If you have time, drive through on a weeknight after dark and experience this incredible display for yourself.


Thank you to the Town of Cumberland, the Parks and Rec Department, the DPW, JJ Duffy, Mickey G’s and all that spent the time and energy to organize and implement a tribute that mere words can not describe.