Some travellers collect magnets, others teaspoons or bumper stickers. I collect benches. I don’t actually physically take a bench away with me, but I do snap photos wherever I stumble upon a bench along my way.
Why benches? For me benches represent so much. They are a place for a weary traveller to rest a while, a contemplative wanderer to pause for thought, or the beauty seeker to to stop and admire the view. A bench says “your journey is not over, but take some time to be present in the moment.”
If benches could tell stories, they’d tell of young lovers, hand in hand, watching a sunset; or a long-married aged couple reminiscing about times spent frolicking in the meadows below. Perhaps they’d tell of a tired mother taking a breather while her active toddler runs through the park, or the hiker with aching feet seeking a moment’s reprieve from the unrelenting road.
More than this, benches also tell us that someone we have never met is looking out for us. A stranger who placed this particular bench in this specific place to give the gift of rest to those he may never meet. A kind heart who had the forethought that a kindred spirit may enjoy the same view, may occupy the same space as countless before and after.
These are by no means all of the benches I have encountered, and they will definitely not be the last to bear the weight of my lagging body or seeking mind. As such, the gallery below will continue to grow as I explore.