Sometimes people don’t see me because they are so busy reading the benches.
I mean, of course, the commemorative plaques and epitaphs on the backs of the benches. There are many of them in Parsonage Gardens. Lazing in the tree, I can see the words “Rest awhile in memory of Bill and Ivy Cartwright” engraved in the wooden backrest of one of the nearest benches facing me. And so I do. I rest awhile (and then a while longer) in memory of Bill and Ivy, whoever they were.
There is a man who comes to sit by the magnolia tree on a Tuesday, because his wife’s ashes were scattered on the ground beneath it (no trace of them now). So I am mindful, as I go about my business of being a leopard in the tree, that some visitors to the gardens come here to connect with someone they loved, and have lost; and I try to tread carefully, with light paws – respectfully – around their moments of reverie.
I am reminded of this quote, introduced to me by my mother, some years ago:-
“I do my thing and you do your thing.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
You are you, and I am I,
and if by chance we find each other, it’s beautiful.”
(‘Gestalt Prayer‘ by Frederick E. (or Fritz) Perls).
When I began this post, I looked up the word ‘epitaph’ online, to make sure it meant what I thought it did (and it does), and I came across this rather lovely blog.