How the story of the founder of landscape architecture led me to find God in Central Park:
I was a freshman in high school the year my parents took our family to the ‘big apple,’ New York City. I wanted to see Rockefeller Center, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and most of all, Central Park. I love the outdoors and always feel at peace when I can stroll among the trees and flowers and hear the birds sing.
But it wasn’t until years later that I realized that I’d find God in Central Park while reading a short biography of the park’s creator, Frederick Law Olmsted. Olmsted, by his artistry, also defined landscape architecture as a legitimate line of work.
“From the very beginning, Olmsted had a great love of nature and scenery,” Alan Banks, supervisory park ranger at the historic site named after the man, told writer Scott Kirkwood for an article published in National Parks magazine in the article, The Lay of the Land.
“Some of his happiest recollections were when his father took the family on trips, looking for beautiful scenery––’tours in search of the picturesque,’ he called them. At a very young age Olmsted became a student of landscape,” added Banks.
One of his goals was to design outdoor spaces that would draw people together so they could interact—to negate the sense that in a city people are out to get you. He wanted men, women, and children to enjoy each other simply by being in one another’s presence in nature.
We owe a debt of gratitude to Frederick Law Olmsted who followed his God-given passion, which has blessed millions of residents and visitors over the years. You can find God in Central Park or in any botanical garden or city park easily when realizing that the real Creator–who brought the universe into being–is behind the talent of Olmsted and every man and woman who manifests God’s glory in the work of their hands.
How many are your works, LORD! In wisdom you made them all . . .
Enjoy this two-minute tour of Central Park on YouTube.
©Karen O’Connor. Karen is an author, writing mentor, and frequent contributor to the Finding God Daily blog. Visit Karen on the web at www.karenoconnor.com