I used to have a favorite place to go in Manhattan when I wanted to reflect, to talk to God, to be. It was the area near the Winter Garden, located just behind the World Trade Center. I could always find a bench overlooking the Hudson River, and there I would pour out my heart. I would follow Dianne Reeves’ advice and “come to the river, where the healing waters flow.”
I was there, two weeks before 9/11. I remember going to the Winter Garden, but also walking on the plaza between the twin towers. I suppose I was saying goodbye without knowing it. It took me at least 7 or 8 years before I was able to go to that physical site again, and I haven’t been since the Freedom Tower was erected. I’m not sure I want to go back.
I never found another quiet spot in New York City for prayer and reflection.
I’ve since moved, and I am still in search of places of healing. I find I desire more solitude in this stage of my life. Even if the Winter Garden were still there, it wouldn’t suit my needs now.
Hopefully we have places where we feel more ourselves, where we gain insight or find the answers we seek. If we don’t, we need to find them.
I am beginning a study of America. I want to know her story before European contact, and after. I want to understand the regions of this country, the people, and the foods - both native and brought here via trade. I want to know what the land needs, and what it wants to give. I want to understand the ability of the land (and the plants on it) to heal.
Because we are a traumatized nation. If you doubt it, spend 5 minutes on Twitter. You’ll see it clear as day. This nation is in need of healing. I’m determined to do my wee bit to help.