I’ve been passing this gate almost everyday for years now and I’ve come to love it more and more as it has gradually peeled back its coats.
I can just imagine some people wanting to spruce it up for spring but I delight in seeing its rainbow of colours all melting into each other and revealing the colourful hands of history.
I’m like this with people too. I want to see the reality that lies behind the make-up; the eyes behind the dark glasses; the joys, fears, loves, losses, passions, hopes … that are so often glossed over with a maskish smile.
The other thing about this gate that always makes me slow down is its design. It’s certainly not a gate to keep small children in or out. It’s more like a toy aimed at stretching a child’s imagination. I find myself looking around for all sorts of shapes that can be posted in through those angled boxes.
Or how about sitting on the gate on Summer evenings reading a warm paperback while horses whinny in the fields nearby. I’ve no doubt that children have sat on this gate over the years and waved at carloads of sun lovers who have spent their day at the beach that’s just down the road.
Yes, it’s a gate with a past and lots and lots of stories to tell ~ just like every single older person in this crazy world of ours.
Thoughts of childhood holidays flitted into my mind this morning for no apparent reason and I went on a rummage in a box of my late father’s photographs. The images brought me on a magical journey all round Ireland.
But, I kept coming back to this photograph which was taken on my grandmother’s farm in Co. Meath. Those holidays were very special as they brought us from living in the middle of towns right into the heart of the country.
There’s lots of things I love about the photo: the soft white dress and the black wellies; the lovely ironwork of the gate and the way it is reflected in the summer sun …..
But, most of all, I love the fact that I’m gazing at Dad ~ a man who sought to make every holiday as memorable for us as he possibly could.
Gates have a a wonderful symbolism about them ~ very similar to bridges- and they’ve always been a source of huge fascination to me. Apart from anything else, I have noticed how many of the photographs from my childhood involve gates of various descriptions.
Needless to say, the event in the upcoming Kilkenny Arts Festival (August 9th-18th) that has captivated me and fired my imagination even further, is one called: Kilkenny Gates: A Hidden Beauty