My Idol and Spiritual Sanctuary: the Birds of Central Park

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Updated: Aug 22, 2023
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A Seasonal Oasis: Central Park

Central Park was my personal spiritual hangout as a child. It is an urban park in Manhattan, New York City, which is accessed by over 38 million people annually, and is one of the most filmed locations in the world. Or, as I often did, I took the two hours, 1.5-mile walk around the countless acres of lawn and through the never-ending buzz of humanity and nature colliding.

In the summer, anyone can go take a stroll through the park, whether it be through walking, biking, or just sitting down on top of the huge rocks overlooking the New York skyline enjoying a picnic.

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In the fall, the leaves start to drop and change not only color but texture. Taking a walk down the park, hearing the crunching, yet satisfying, noise of the leaves on the ground while looking over the colorful red trees that juxtapose the darker shades of the buildings somehow fulfills you with an inner sense of joy. In the winter, the naked trees get covered with snow, creating a magical winter utopia mirroring nothing less than the north pole. I loved watching every age group occupied with a different activity but somehow making a cohesively beautiful scene. The young kids try to make snowmen with their parents, the slightly older kids make snow angels and chase each other around the slippery slides, and the teenagers split into those who are too cool to do anything and those who decide to participate in the festivities. In the spring, the desolate winter environment is used as a blank canvas for the blooming flowers to rejuvenate with vitality. It does not matter what season of the year it is, I would always love to visit Central Park because of its beautiful views and year-round enjoyment one can go experience.

The Dynamic Diversity of Central Park

Central Park covers it all, from a playground to a zoo to a lake. Trails sneak like snakes around the endless property, forming a labyrinth in which every direction leads to a different exit. With the trails outlined by saucer magnolias which are filled with chattering birds trying to be overshadowed by the noise of the train tracks, the croak of frogs, and the sweet sound of the evening breezes, Central Park is a haven full of commotion but tranquility at the same time. Being there had an unprecedented effect on me, as it brought me into another state of mind, one full of positivity and introspection.

A Place of Belonging

In elementary school, I was not a very social person. I did not have many friends, was not part of the ‘popular kids,’ and did not feel like I belonged in a group most of the time. But when I went to Central Park, it was as if these worries were boiled into something far less toxic… something pure and harmonious. Not fitting in anywhere else made me feel like I could fit in Central Park. A strange phenomenon indeed, and it always seemed mystical to me, and in a way, it still does.

I would walk to various places in the park: the Shakespeare garden, which represents the English countryside and features hundreds of plants that were mentioned in Shakespeare’s works; the sheep meadow which soon becomes the perfect spot to chill out against the stunning backdrop of the Manhattan skyline, and the Bethesda Terrace and Fountain which features stunning architecture and remnants to the past, uniting everyone with its beauty.

My Idol: The Birds of Central Park

The pigeons always attracted me there as well. In fact, my first word was “shoo,” imitating what the kids said whenever a pigeon came in their way. Even though I have never been a big fan of Disney princesses, Snow White became my idol, astonishing me with her ability to sing and speak to the birds. In a way, I had a natural calling towards the park my entire life. Chasing the birds, I realized I developed certain qualities from a young age. The calmness involved while trying not to scare the birds away, the patience involved in continuing the pursuit despite making any progress, and the awareness of my surroundings and trying not to make any noise all made me the person I am today. It is a wonderful feeling being immersed in a world with nature in one ear, civilization in another, and both unfaltering eyes on a goal in mind. This combination of serenity was enchanting and captured my imagination.

I wrote many poems about this place when I was younger, though I have now stopped. Dancing in the rain and beaming with sunlight being my favorite ones out of all. Nowhere else have I written so many poems—or even any poems at all? It’s interesting to see the different faces we wear in life, one for school, one for home, one for friends, one for family. But the true one comes out when one is at peace without any societal influences. Nobody I know would take me for a person who likes to write poems, but on the inside, it’s a hobby of mine, and Central Park somehow became the key to the box that had never been opened before.

It seems that Central Park will make you leave feeling soothed and renewed, no matter how bad you felt beforehand. It just feels so wholesome to walk around, feel the iconic New York breeze, smell the various plants surrounding you, hear the distinct collection of birds singing, listen to the cacophony of all ages, witness movies being filmed, and see people enjoy themselves. In its own way, it acts as a method for emotional therapy, healing the worries one has about life.
It will be hard to ever forget Central Park. It is now interlaced with the rest of the parts of my life, including my personality, hobbies, spiritual life, transcendentalist qualities, and a connection to my late grandmother, who always used to take me for late evening strolls regardless of how tired she felt. So, whenever I visit Central Park, all of these attributes occupy my mind and soul, making me feel as if I am HOME.

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My Idol and Spiritual Sanctuary: The Birds of Central Park. (2023, Aug 22). Retrieved from