Life Will Out

While traveling in Argentina, we visited La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires.   Since 1822, nearly 5,000 mausoleums have been constructed  in the highest fashion of the times, from Baroque and Neo-Gothic to Art Deco and Art Nouveau.   La Recoleta is a city for the dead, with elegant marble tombs neatly laid out in blocks over fourteen acres.

Some are maintained, for love or pride. Others, like the poet Shelley’s statue of Ozymandias, have fallen into disrepair, covered with spider webs and graffiti, littered with broken glass and faded plastic flowers.  Feral cats stare warily from marble perches and skulk away sideways if approached.

We saw the grave of Eva Peron, and other statesmen, poets, generals, and presidents.

More interesting to me was the final resting place for a mother and her infant.  They were not famous, but clearly they were loved.  Did she and the child die in childbirth or were they swept away by an epidemic? In any case, a grieving husband and father was spared to erect this memorial. Was he able to pick up the pieces of his broken life to find happiness again?

Wherever we go, we find reminders of all the stories in this world that will never be told.  When I photographed this memorial, I could be certain of only two things.  Both mother and child were subject to an early and tragic demise.  And, as seen by the lush green fern sprouting from the dust collecting in the cracks in the stone, life goes on.

All images and words copyright Naomi Baltuck

Click here for more interpretations of the Weekly Photo Challenge: Spare.


  1. Hi,
    What a beautiful memorial that someone built for this loving mother and child, and I agree it does make you wonder about what happened and what was left behind. A beautiful photo, and a lovely post.

  2. Holy cow! That has to be the most gorgeous and sad memorial statue I’ve ever seen! The best detail, for me, is the mattress and pillows. He didn’t want them to be uncomfortable. I’ve always winced whenever I see those sarcophagus lids with the portraits lying on them…it looks so cold and uncomfortable for a resting place for eternity! *hugs* Thanks for showing me this…I’ll remember it forever!


    1. Hi Madhu! La Recoleta was one of the most memorable couple of hours I spent in Argentina. It was transporting! So many stories! What else did you see while you were there? I look forward to seeing your pictures. Thank you for your visit.

    1. I too found this sculpture evoked, among many other emotions, one of quiet serenity, though tinged with sadness. Thank you for your visit, and your thoughtful comment.

    1. Hi Anna, thank you so much for your visit. Argentina was like nowhere I had ever been before. My son is going over next year on a Fulbright, so I am sure I will be going back. Where did you visit, and what did you love most?

      1. Congratulations to your son. That’s wonderful! I should’ve been clearer– I’ve never been to Argentina but it’s on the top of my “Places I Want to Go” list. I grew up with neighbors from Argentina and have since been intrigued with the place. I wish your son the best of luck!

  3. Lord, how lovely. It’s almost too realistic. How could the family endure the memory every time they looked at it? Only people accustomed to early death could, I think. Are the woman and baby marble too? The whole thing is breathtaking.

    Did you snap Ozymandias? Ah, I would love to see that one. One of my favorite poems from childhood!

    1. Hi George. Thank you so much for visiting. This piece was fascinating to me too, in so many ways. The sculptor was certainly talented. As for Ozymandias, I have always loved that poem–I memorized it in fifth grade and have never forgotten it.

    1. Thank you, Sue! Sometimes I am touched deeply by a sight and take the photo home with me, only knowing that I have been touched. It lives with me and I think about it, and I come to understand why.

  4. Beautiful image with moving thoughts. That is sad to hear that both mother and child left this world too early. These words just came out vividly true, “Wherever we go, we will find reminders of all the stories in this world that will never be told.” Thanks for sharing an inspiring post. Have a great day.

    1. It is very sad, but I have the feeling that here on Earth, they were loved very much. Thank you for your kind words and thoughtful reply. I appreciate your visit.

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