The serene spot


Sisters capture serenity in local cemetery

By Kristy D. Carter - [email protected]



This red shoulder hawk was recently born at Clinton Cemetery. Beth Henry and Ruth Godwin caught the bird after he left the nest.


Ruth Godwin, sitting, enjoys going out to the cemetery to watch birds and capture them on camera. Pictured with Godwin are her friend, Van Williams, and sister, Beth Henry.


Sisters capture serenity in local cemetery

By Kristy D. Carter

[email protected]

This red shoulder hawk was recently born at Clinton Cemetery. Beth Henry and Ruth Godwin caught the bird after he left the nest.
http://clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/web1_FullSizeRender.jpgThis red shoulder hawk was recently born at Clinton Cemetery. Beth Henry and Ruth Godwin caught the bird after he left the nest.

Ruth Godwin, sitting, enjoys going out to the cemetery to watch birds and capture them on camera. Pictured with Godwin are her friend, Van Williams, and sister, Beth Henry.
http://clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/web1_RuthGodwin.jpgRuth Godwin, sitting, enjoys going out to the cemetery to watch birds and capture them on camera. Pictured with Godwin are her friend, Van Williams, and sister, Beth Henry.

Nestled in the back corner of the Clinton Cemetery, Ruth Godwin and sister Beth Henry have found a quite spot they visit once, sometimes twice, a day.

For the last three months, Godwin and Henry have made the trip out to the cemetery everyday and through their visits, have watched the hatching of hawk eggs, all while finding a place to escape and let the hours pass.

Godwin, who many may know from working with the Clinton Recreation Department, has recently experienced some health problems. Henry, who is from Clinton, but now resides in Charlotte, has been spending a great deal of time visiting with her sister. To pass time, the two started spending their mornings, and some afternoons, in the cemetery watching a nest of hawks.

“This is good therapy for me,” Godwin said. “It’s been very comforting for me to be out here.”

In April, Godwin and Henry were visiting their parent’s graves at the local cemetery. While there, just behind the ponds, they found a hawk’s nest.

“I was walking and saw the hawk’s nest,” Henry said. “I thought they may have been sitting on the eggs, so we started coming out everyday and watching them.”

When the temperature was right, Godwin and Henry would take their chairs and sit, watching as the male and female hawks would sit on the eggs, waiting for them to hatch. In early May, they did.

For three days, the sisters watched as each egg would hatch.

“We didn’t have a camera at first, but once we saw the three little babies, we had to get a camera,” Henry said.

Even though the birds have left the nest, Godwin and Henry still spend their mornings out at the cemetery, sitting in their spot, watching other birds.

Watching the birds and listening as they learn the sounds of each bird, Godwin said, has been a great stress reliever. Spending a lot of time at different appointments, Godwin said she needed something that relaxed her and watching the birds and capturing them on camera has been the trick.

“We come out here everyday,” Godwin said. “I don’t think we have missed a day yet. We are out here even in the rain.”

With Henry living in Charlotte, some of Godwin’s friends bring her out to the cemetery on the days her sister is gone. Van Williams, one of Godwin’s best friends, says she enjoys coming out to the cemetery and watching the birds with Godwin.

Standing for a long period of time is hard for Godwin because of her health problems, so, she said, she just purchased a tripod to use with her camera. An easy fix, she admitted.

“It’s just so hard not to get interested in something so beautiful,” Godwin said.

Clinton City employees Jeff Vreugdenhil and Shawn Purvis have been out to the cemetery and have encouraged the sisters to share their experience with others.

“This is the best spot in Clinton,” Henry said. “I almost don’t want others to know it’s here because then we have to share it.”

Henry and Godwin say this is already an event they have on the calendar for next year.

“Watching the birds with my sister has been the best experience of my life,” Godwin said. “I am able to draw strength from being out here.”

Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.

Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.

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