By: Gabriela Yareliz
One of Manhattan’s loveliest places is tucked away at 487 Hudson St. I have spent many evenings at the Gardens at St. Luke; sometimes they are empty, sometimes they are full of children playing, while the mothers and nannies sit in a circle on the grass surrounded by strollers. The guardians occasionally remind the children to play nice, and then, they continue talking about play dates, cupcakes, school events and motherly topics. I like the place so much, I even stopped by the morning of my birthday. I was alone and serene that morning; only the birds and butterflies made sounds.
The Gardens are hidden away in the West Village; they are so close to the Hudson River that the gate entrance is on Hudson Street. The walk along Hudson Street in the West Village is one of my favorites.
This is how I discovered the Gardens: One day, I was marching up Hudson Street, and I saw a brick wall with a gate. I was on the opposite side of the street, but of course, curiosity got the best of me. I waited to cross, and I entered the gate. It was like walking into the Secret Garden. It was an early spring afternoon (if I dare call it that–it was still cold). I walked through the gate and took a deep breath. The Gardens were solitary. Nice wooden benches were clean and inviting under spring branches. New little green leaves filtered the golden evening light.
When you walk in, you can walk little footpaths in whichever direction you choose. Little paths take you to different Gardens and compartments. There are benches, flowers, hoses, birdbaths, and sometimes, a guitar player in a melodious corner or a reader who is mentally worlds away.
I am always looking for a quiet place to rest my mind. Despite the fact that I pray wherever I go, it’s always nice to find a place that invites you to be still, and above all, a place that displays nature in all of its splendor.
Ellen G. White once wrote, “In the things of nature, marred as they are by the blight of sin, much that is beautiful remains. One omnipotent in power, great in goodness, in mercy, and love, has created the earth, and even in its blighted state it inculcates truths in regard to the skillful Master Artist. In this book of nature opened to us—in the beautiful, scented flowers, with their varied and delicate coloring—God gives to us an unmistakable expression of His love.”
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork.” Psalm 19:1
“I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes […] (now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)” e. e. cummings
These Gardens have been such a gift to me. In each flower, bird and tree can be found a spiritual lesson, wisdom and hope for what is to come. I cannot wait to see the Gardens as they change when autumn brings its glow and winter, its gray.
When I walk through the Gardens’ gate, I immediately smell dirt, flowers, leaves and life. Joy and peace fill me, while the drip-drip of the birdbath and water collector makes music to compliment its little bathers, the birds. When you walk through the Gardens, just as in life, you walk a path engulfed by magnificent beauty.