Green Spaces, Places of Second Bases, and Love Traces

This heartfelt story is dedicated to my late husband in fond memory of our outdoor experiences, especially during summertime.

I, Wanda, am a mother, grandmother, and longtime resident of Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy community. My creative passions include writing, collages, storytelling, book art, found object art, and sharing. I am also a retiree who works part-time with older adult programs and communities.

My longest love-at-first-sight crush was borne at a Saturday evening gospel concert at MJBC, a small Black Baptist church in Brooklyn, New York. The sound of drums, guitars, keyboard, amplifiers, hand clapping, foot stomping, and soul-stirring call and response singing filled the sanctuary. It was there that the spirit of the tenor voice swept over me like a mighty rushing wind. And for three years I chased that tenor before it whistled in my right eardrum and fluttered my soul again, but a cappella style. Five natural voices releasing four-part harmony that soared through sanctuaries like a symphony of nightingale, robin, cockatoo, sparrow, and canary soaring through air.

So it was within the four walls of local churches where the seed of community, friendship and love was planted in my spiritual garden. But it was beyond those walls and within Brooklyn green spaces, namely local parks like Harriet Tubman, Herbert Von King, Prospect, and Lincoln Terrace where my crush crystalized into a long term romance nourished by sunshine and rain in my secret social garden. Oh, if objects could talk!

Park benches would tell of a love that felt not the discomfort of hard wooden slats and splinters in moments when lovebirds sat and smooched. But blankets would tell of pocket flashlight flickering below as one lover squeezed tweezer and gently removed fragment of park bench from lover’s backsides.

Crushes have added so much joy to my life but like sunrise and sunset they too eventually melted away as evidenced by my longest love-at-first-sight crush, now resting 6-feet deep beneath solemn green space.

So I now go to Herbert Von King Park again but without blanket, sit on bench without splinter, and entice my new crush—pineapple, tamarind, ginger, and coconut snow cone made specially for me by the tall snow cone man standing near a fence midway the park.

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