On The Beaten Path | The Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson, Rector

07.28.23 | Community, International, Pulpit Posts, World

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the spiritual experience of the journey; how being placed in a new environment (internally or externally, whether by choice or not) provides shifts that can both change and sustain us. Sometimes, such shifts happen without the travel, by way of noticing something that’s been with us all along.

I live just south of the Columbia University neighborhood, and because I am a committed and regular walker, I have walked the stretch of Riverside between 100th and 130th streets more times than I can count. The trees of the park are on one side and beautiful buildings on the other, and there are just enough people that it doesn’t feel isolated but not so many that I’m dodging crowds.

One morning, during the most recent stretch of heat and humidity I started out early and chose this very familiar route. I love walking, but on this particular day I just wanted to get it over with so I could return to a cooler indoor space. In other words, I wasn’t fully present to what was happening around me. So I’m not sure how, after countless numbers of times passing it by, I noticed the sign in the picture above–but I did. And I don’t know why I stopped to read it, but I did!

And I was amazed. In fact, I gasped loudly enough that I heard some laughter behind me. I turned around to see an elderly woman making her way to the door of the building. With obvious pride and a beaming smile, the woman said, “Yes, she lived here!”

There are many such signs on many different buildings throughout the city. Hannah Arendt is just one of the myriad famous residents commemorated with plaques in their honor. Each reminds us of the vibrance in this incredible city we share. The inspiration in that is available to us always—all we have to do is pay attention.


Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson

Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson


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