I’m not sure what made Jon call Ariel on the way to New York on Saturday, but it seems like it was one of those things that were meant to be. Ariel’s been driving a carriage in the city for over 30 years. He offered to take us on a ride from the stables to Central Park before Emma’s wedding.
Ariel is a special person. So much love, openness and generosity poured out of him, it was infectious. And his connection with his horse, Rebecca, well it was like they read each others mind and heart. Infused with all those good feelings, I took them to Emma’s wedding later in the day, and vowed to myself that I would spread the joy.
But that was only the beginning because, that same day, Ariel invited us to take a ride through Central Park at midnight. I can’t remember the last time I stayed up past 11pm, but this was not something I was going to pass up. Now, 12 midnight is not late in New York City. Restaurants and groceries are open, it’s so lit up you’re lucky if you can see the moon when it’s full. And the streets and sidewalks are packed with people. But Central Park, well honestly, it’s not a place I would usually go at night. Even now, that it’s safer than it’s been in decades. I guess I still have that old Central Park fear in me, because for most of my life, parts of the park could be dangerous, even in the daytime.
But it is different now. And the Park at midnight, empty of cars, bikes, and people, is a different place than it is in the daytime. It’s soft, all the edges rounded in the dark. And it’s quiet, even though it’s still surrounded by busy streets filled with traffic. And it has that feeling like a big building has after everyone has gone home and you’re there alone. Like it’s resting. And all the energy of all the people who were there during the day becomes an inaudible whisper.
And it’s this peaceful night time that Ariel comes to the park for and loves to share. And he not only shared it with me and Jon, but he worked some magic too. There was hot tea and live music, fresh strawberries, and stories of the park and horse teachings. There were rose petals and a magic wand and a blessing prayer, where my legs started to tingle and I swear I thought the three of us were about to float off the ground and land in the stars.
It was magical and grounding, just what I needed to balance the rest of the day. It brought me home and lifted me out of myself at the same time.
Today, back in my studio, I started working on a wall hanging, trying to capture the feeling of the midnight ride. By the time I stopped this evening, it was too late to get a good photo of the whole piece, the lighting was off, so I took a few close-ups. I hope to finish it tomorrow, adding the rest of the details that make it complete.