Hampton Court Tunnel

Last summer I visited the restored privy garden at Hampton Court. Once a private space enjoyed by kings and queens, it is now open to the paying public. Pretty, floral borders and neatly clipped ornamental shrubs ensure the ambience of royalty continues to abound. To one side is a hedge tunnel, made by growing the shrubs around a long wooden frame. Continuing for some time, walking through it is a dark experience. Movement in the leaves and the odd gap gives a sense of the sunlit brilliance outside and the tunnel’s end allows in a dazzling spectacle of brightness.

This valley of shadow through which we pass, this temporary passage on the earth, is often dark and painful. But the end is always in sight- our home-calling or His coming. The grace of His wind often blows up the leaves and trapdoors, briefly admitting heaven’s light and warmth. Pilgrims are frequently afforded glimpses of glory in the tunnel’s midst that they might be spurred on to get to the finish.