I’m taking a break from my Northwest theme momentarily and traveling to the opposite coast, specifically, “The Big Apple.” Why? Because I will be visiting family and friends there in a few weeks and I thought I would share a bit of my previous experience visiting the megopolis metropolis. This earth-rooted “mountain woman” had a hard time coming to grips with the NYC scene, but while there, I was most fortunate to have been treated to a few places that brought back my sanity and restored my hope for survival. There were three places I visited (four, if you count Central Park) that had a calming effect on me and begged for my return in future visits.
Let me tell you exactly where I found profound inner peace in New York City—at least one of them. Now you may not think that the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan with its crowded hallways would be the place to find yourself, especially during the Christmas holidays. So you know that it was jammed packed with tourists! But when I entered the great hall of the Pacific Northwest Exhibit, I was transported back home—yes—home to my magnificent Pacific Northwest! I was surrounded by giant totem poles representative of coastal tribes, along with giant cedars and other Pacific Northwest forest evergreens. It was peaceful within this giant hall, one that I seemed so familiar with. It was an emotional moment as well; I hesitated to leave. This was MY spot. I had found my inner peace.
The second spot that had a calming effect on me was inside The Cathedral Church of St John the Divine, the largest cathedral in the world. Most Americans don’t realize that right here in the US, on Manhattan Island, is the largest cathedral in the world, and it is designated as a house of prayer for all people. It’s huge Gothic exterior and Romanesque style interior will awe you. I had never been inside a cathedral before, let alone one of this magnitude, so this was a very special occasion for me as well as a spiritually humbling experience. As I leisurely walked throughout this time portal, I felt as if I was someplace in medieval Europe. Rays of light shining through the beautiful stained glass windows cast prism shadows along the walls of the interior structure. (See below)
And thirdly, somewhat similar to my experience in the cathedral, was a visit to a stone masonry structure located on a hilltop in Fort Tryon Park next to the Hudson River. I am referring to The Cloisters, a branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art dedicated to art and architecture of medieval Europe. Again, I felt transported back to another time as I walked from room to room with the most beautiful works of art such as the famed Unicorn Tapestries, gold altar pieces, ceramics, wood and ivory sculptures, frescoes, not to mention the beautiful garden courtyards. I strongly suggest getting hold of a copy of the museum’s richly illustrated published book, The Cloisters, whether you have visited the museum or not. Within its stone walls, the interior structures and archways of The Cloisters are works of art themselves. It is very quiet within these stone walls, a place I would want to return to again and again.