Y’all, I’ve decided. Central Park is my favorite place in New York City. Despite how many times I’ve been there for one celebration or another, it never gets old. It will forever serve as a reminder that I’ve made it. Of what it feels like to follow your dreams despite the uncertain journey.
I tell you, there is magic in that 843-acre park that sits in the middle of Manhattan. I think that is especially true now that it is fall. It is so peaceful. You forget that you are still in the city. There’s no sirens, honking cars or even loud music. It feels like it’s just you, birds chirping above and your thoughts. At least, that’s how I felt when I went there last week.
As I strolled through the park, I was captivated by the ever-changing design from the winding trails, bridges, and a lake where turtles could be seen swimming below. To escape the sudden downpour, I ducked inside the Angel Tunnel where two opera performers were putting on a show. The duo took turns being the lead singer. As one sang, the other would play the violin or a bell. When they danced, anklets jiggled to each turn and spin they made. On one end of the tunnel, three different couples took photos for their upcoming and recent nuptials. On the other end, a girl wearing a black and turquoise cocktail dress took pictures for what I assume was her sweet 15. In that moment, I was happy it rained so that I could soak everything in.
I learned a lot that day while exploring Central Park. Perhaps, most of all, I learned a lot from the fall season. The lesson would be to constantly change.
I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older or if I’m still feeling the impact of recent situations, but that day taught me the importance of the ability to adapt. That might sound like a given, but life can be filled with unexpected twists and turns. While it can make life more interesting, it can also make you question the journey.
The leaves assured me that it’s not only okay, but necessary to let go of pieces of myself that are not going to serve me in the next stage of my life. Some characteristics should be shaken off to the ground so they too can be washed away as a new season approaches.
Quite honestly, there are several leaves I need to shake off so to speak. Sometimes, I can be kind-of insensitive in the sake of telling my truth. I’m not trying to excuse myself, but I know that I am not the best at expressing how I feel so when I do speak my mind, it can come off as being mean. Nobody likes that person.
Another lesson would be to not fear showing a different side of myself like the colors that only appear in fall. I can admit that I am guarded and very selective who I let in, but I’m learning that it’s not as necessary as I thought. People can (and will) surprise you when you give them a chance. And like fall’s colored leaves, they will paint your life with each passing season.
Photos: Izell Green