Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bethesda Fountain

A little while ago, I took my dog for a walk in Central Park. The early fall sky hung low and gray, interrupted by a few rebellious rays of sunlight. Pooch and I descended the stairway leading from Poet's Walk into the shadows of the arcade below Besthesda Terrace. I gazed up, as I always do, to admire the restored ceiling. Bach filled the arcade: an a capella group hummed in wordless harmony at the other end. Pooch and I listened briefly, but were drawn out of the arcade by a spectacle of light near the fountain. The gray day had become unexpectedly brilliant in comparison to the darkness of the arcade. In front of us, a man held two large sticks tied together by rope. He dipped the apparatus into soapy water and in careful slow motion so as not to spoil his work, set to float a ten foot bubble. The sun scattered into a rainbow on the bubble, and the singers' chords of "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" accompanied his creation. Overhead, the angel of the Bethesda Fountain, her skirts swirling as if alighting from flight, stretched down her hand in solace to those below. She did not seem to mind the pigeons on her head, her shoulder, her hand. Why should she? This is one of my favorite spots in all of the city, and on that day, with Bach, the bubbles and the late afternoon sun, it felt like Heaven.

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