Central Park is closed until further notice. The park closed before Sandy arrived. It remains closed. The park sustained damage during the storm. The closing protects visitors from falling branches or trees. It allows park personnel the opportunity to clean the park.
Updates as to the progress of restoring Central Park appear on the park’s Web page. On the page today are photos of the damage. That includes the uprooting of a willow tree near Harlem Meer.
Immediately upon viewing the photo, I recalled that, a little over a year ago, I walked around Harlem Meer with my friend Peter Tibi. We passed this willow. I took a photo, not of the tree, but of its branches dipped into Harlem Meer. I wrote a poem – of sorts.
Now it stands, toppled. In no way does this compare to the loss of human life or the destruction of homes and the disruption of lives wrought by Sandy in New York, New Jersey, other parts of the United States, including Puerto Rico, Haiti, Cuba, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Canada, and Jamaica. Nor does it compare to such losses brought by Cyclone Nilam to brothers and sisters living on the Indian Ocean.
Still, the fall of the willow that I sought to capture in photo and words tugs at me, a reminder of the storm’s power and life’s fragility.
See you along the Trail.
Purple flowers ordinarily post on Mondays. But this has been no ordinary week in New York and too many places around the world. As have our brothers and sisters along the coast and in other parts of the United States, including Puerto Rico, as have our sisters and brothers in Haiti, Cuba, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Canada, and Jamaica, we have come through Sandy. Cyclone Nilam has impacted brothers and sisters living on the Indian Ocean. Storms real and storms metaphorical have touched lives around the world.
In all those places, in different ways, storms have battered, bruised, and tested people. There are new saints to remember on this All Saints’ Day. Scars remain and continue to emerge. Tests and challenges continue.
These are no ordinary purple flowers. During yesterday’s long walk, I came across them on 51st Street between 6th and 7th Avenues. They survived the storm.
I post them today
in memory of all killed by Sandy, Nilam, and other storms
in support for all who grieve
in honor of all who have endured
in profound respect for first responders
as a modest sign of hope for those who continue to struggle with the aftermath of the storm
as a prayer that our nation, our people and all the nations and peoples
may ponder the storm and how it calls us to change and
may find the courage to make those changes.
Manhattan, 31 October, 51st Street between 6th and 7th Avenues
See you along the Trail.