life is precious

5.29 Life is precious as evident in a cemetery for babies in Japan

5.29-japan-6-detail-d life is precious Highlights Relevant to Sustainable Design:

We can remember how life is precious.

This is a cemetery for babies and small children who died well before they had a chance to live a full life. I visited the site in the rain, and there was a surreal quality about it with a few small pinwheels spinning as the raindrops hit the fins at each turn. A raven flew into the cemetery when I was there, and its flight along with its periodic caws added an even more strange and sad quality to the experience. As so many of us race full speed ahead in the digital world, moments like this can cause us to pause and add perspective on the fleeting nature of life. If you are reading this, then you are as fortunate as I am to have lived long enough to learn how to read. I cannot imagine the devastation and heartbreak of losing a child. We can hopefully give our children and grandchildren a bright future.


An example of grave markers in Hungary for comparison and extension of life is the precious theme


Excerpt from 6.1 Introduction to Hungary (6.1.From Austria to Hungary-1-Horizontal-with-Figure) for further reflections on how life is precious

I had the good fortune of gaining some added perspective of a unique chapter in modern history by getting inside the Iron Curtain to Budapest over the summer of 1989, before the fall of the Berlin Wall. My father, who was born and raised in Budapest, escaped in 1957 and came to America. We celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of his arrival in 2007, but at the end of the eighties he was very concerned about the status of his parents’ gravesite. He was naturally anxious about returning himself. As his oldest son, he asked me to return, find the cemetery, and pay the recurring service fee to maintain the gravesite for the next twenty-five years. My experience in the Soviet controlled Hungary was truly like traveling back in time. The lack of street signage and outdoor advertising was just the tip of the iceberg, and cities like Budapest looked almost the same as they may have if Mozart were to visit back in the second half of the 1700s. Four years after my first trip, I returned with pen in hand and spent multiple months researching and living in cities and small villages across Eastern Europe. Please note that the physical sketchbooks that I took to Europe were much longer than ones that I have used over my travels, so in many cases the first set of details are a portion of the larger books.

5.25.Japan-6-Horizontal-with-Figure – sketchbook with cemetery for babies reflecting how life is precious on the far right

The figure outline in this image is for scale to illustrate the size of the fold-out field drawing. The descriptions of certain key elements and insights are included with the accompanying drawings in this section.


Author and illustrator: Charlie Szoradi is an architect, inventor, and the CEO of Independence LED Lighting. He writes about many other topics related to how life is precious through his extensive travels around the world.

If you have found this posting online, it is an excerpt from Mr. Szoradi’s book Learn from Looking that served as the inspiring seed content for this drawing share resource. For additional drawings and insights on cemeteries and how life is precious, we hope that you enjoy exploring You can search via general terms such as sustainability as well as narrower terms such as those that reflect how life is precious.

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