Light and shade by turn but love always are the words engraved on the Temple at Mount Congreve Garden. As I read them this morning, they seemed to sum up every emotion I was feeling.
Today, May 24th, is my son’s nineteenth birthday; it also marks the last day I saw my late parents together as they sat in their porch at sundown in 2009; and it is the anniversary of the death of Ambrose Congreve who died, aged 104, in 2011.
Yes, life is full of light and shade; joy and sadness; and love is what we need to sustain and nurture us through the rough and the smooth.
Today, I feel especially grateful to Ambrose Congreve for creating a garden which brings such peace and allows for such connection and reflection. My parents adored Mount Congreve and it is a place in which I have shared many, many precious hours with my son.
Here are some of the key images that particularly captivated me in Mount Congreve today as they seemed to highlight themes around the seasonality of life, lives well spent, and, of course, love:
May 23rd is one of my ‘heightened sensitivity’ days as it is the day before our son’s birthday. He was born in 1995 and will be 19 at 9.25 tomorrow morning.
As he is an only child, there is a real sense in which I see my life as being divided between the time before and the time since his arrival. As I was having an elective C-Section, I was in hospital this night 19 years ago and tossed and turned all night as if mirroring the transition that was unfolding.
I was looking through my photographic archives to find the photograph that I most associate with May 23rd and it has to be this one of the Rhododendron at the bottom of our garden that unfailingly comes into bloom in the run up to the birthday.
It served as the backdrop for his birthday parties when he was small; survived all the footballs and sliotars that he and his friends ‘accidently’ lashed against it; was among the first things that he ever photographed; and always reminds me to be intensely grateful for the precious, precious gift that transformed my life forever and who remarkably now stands at 6ft 3in!
How time flies! But, how well one remembers the significant crossings.