Thursday, February 11, 2016

the prodigal smell of biscuits

Curtains forcing their will 
against the wind, 
children sleep, 
exchanging dreams with seraphim. 
The city drags itself awake 
on subway straps 
--Awaking in New York, by Maya Angelou

In Yorkville, on a quiet street, a street you would expect nothing of, there is a church. It is a very striking, almost grotesque-- church that rises out of the dark of the February night. Its spires seem to introduce into the clear air-- cold as frostbite--a smog of mystery.

Its steeples rise alarmingly out of the surrounding brownstones and nondescript apartment buildings. They are Gothic and ancient, intricate little harbingers of another world. It was startling to see a free-standing church, as all its compatriot city churches on similar small streets are tightly tucked between different buildings.

Avenue churches get to be grand and magnificent. Street churches are usually squished against the surrounding houses.
But this church has a churchyard, complete with wrought iron fence and grass. It is a proper English Church transported to the center of Yorkville. Now, as I walk down the sidewalk, I think the street is enchanted, because of this Church. This church harbors green grass and stained glass, which harbors a different world. This place is not of this world; it belongs to England and cobblestone streets; Parliament and winding alleys that lead you to authors' homes.

This little Church is a sacrament of something quieter and sweeter, in the midst of the bustle of the city. I think the city is filled with all these little signs, if I'm willing to pay attention to them.

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