Living in East Harlem, one of the hotspots for the Covid-19 virus, we don’t venture out often, but when we do - it’s to the park we go. It’s where God meets me, where God whispers words I need to hear. In the park I know nature’s insistence on life. Its demand for spring, after a long winter, is evidenced in the stubborn and glorious emergence of the bud turned blossom. The explosive energy and activity of a new season are nature’s way of telling me life goes on. Lush green foliage and stately trees reaching toward the sky are the sermon song I need to hear when I feel fatigued and overburdened. In a life sheltered in place - knowing the park as sanctuary and refuge is a grace, a sweet and meaningful gift. In so many ways, the park tells me what I need to know. Nature speaks boldly of shifts and turns - of movement and change. It's the message I need to hear again and again - this too shall pass … this too shall pass.
Central Park holds personal significance for my family. Rodney and I were married under a crabapple tree in the South Garden of the Conservatory Garden in 1996. In Central Park, I played with the children of friends when I desperately wanted to be a mother myself. It’s there I found a quiet bench to cry after the news of yet another friend's pregnancy. After making it to the mother hood, I had the pleasure of taking my children for their first swimming lessons at Lasker Pool and the Great Hill near 108th Street, is a fondly remembered meeting place for day-long gatherings with fellow homeschoolers. I trained for my first and only 5k race on the bridle path of the reservoir and in summer, a shady spot on the East Meadow is still our preferred location for early evening dinners. Rodney and I make our way back to that tree regularly, to tune our hearts and minds to a higher frequency when the work of marriage feels too much. It seems I’ve walked out my prayers in Central Park. In the park, God is my companion.