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A Walk In The Park

Our convent is three blocks up and four blocks over from the northeast entrance to Central Park. After the Park reopened a few weeks ago, I started to make it the regular destination of my afternoon walks. The tulips in the conservatory garden were spectacular, as they are every year: green stems, proud and tall, supporting the radiant, and multicolored heads in triumphant bloom. Looking at them, one could forget there was anything amiss in the world.

The bulbs have been carefully pulled up now—I was there that day too—and laid out on tarps in an organized fashion, ready for storage. I observed this work and interpreted it as an exercise in both gratitude and hope. The tree-tunnel is in full leaf, green and lush, providing cool shade as a free gift to the people lingering on benches in the casual repose of un-anxious leisure. And then…the big lawn, plush and inviting, with (could it be?) a bride and a groom posing for a keepsake picture. To see them is a balm against “pandemic blues,” if ever there was one. If it is a sign of hope you seek, there could be none better than bride and groom ready to enter a covenant, as if the troubles of late were no more than wisps of cloud to be blown away by the next strong, easterly wind. The great lawn, on which the couple stands, is edged with bushes alive with the new spring growth of thickest green. Everything is charged with life.


More spectacular, even, than wisteria cascading over the high arching lattices and lilacs hanging in heavy bloom over the path, are the array of people at the park. Ahhh, it is good to be out…all of us together, fellow travelers, pilgrims all, my brothers and sisters and I, laying aside our grief for a while.


I return to the convent, and I am content. The beauty of things not made, but created, is one of the hungers of the human soul—an appetite God deigned for us. During these tense days, that wear on still, I have become aware, newly so, that the hunger for beauty, like that of goodness, truth and oneness, will not be satiated by lesser things.


I am learning that if I take time for beauty, and let if fill me, it is a source of renewal. He does in fact, make all things new.


Mother Clare, CFR


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