The Mysteries of Secret Spaces

In this guest blog, Diana Aydin says she's enchanted by those quiet spots that are perfect for meditation, prayer or reflection.

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Posted in , Nov 5, 2013

The weeping beach tree secret space on the campus of Cornell University

Today’s guest blogger is Mysterious Ways associate editor Diana Aydin.

My favorite section of Mysterious Ways magazine is the very last page, “Secret Spaces.” I’ve always been enchanted by those quiet, little-known spots that mark the perfect place for meditation, prayer or reflection.

Last week, on vacation, I revisited one of my favorite “Secret Spaces.” I went up to Ithaca, New York, to visit my alma mater, Cornell University. It’s been quite a few years since I walked campus with my heavy book bag and textbooks in hand, but one memory still sticks out...

It was my senior year and I was more than a little stressed. I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do after graduation. Teaching? Writing? Graduate school? What if I made the wrong choice? Needless to say, all those questions left little time to relax! One weekend, my sister came up for a visit and I decided it was finally time to take a break and enjoy Ithaca’s natural beauty (before it got too cold to even leave the dorm room!).

I’d heard about this hidden gem right by the library: a weeping beach tree that you could actually walk under. I passed by that spot almost every day on my way to class and had never once noticed such a tree. Still, I was curious. So we headed toward the library and, well, there it was. No wonder I’d never observed it—the tree didn’t seem to be anything special. If anything, it looked like it was in bad need of a trim, with its overgrown branches hanging heavily to the ground.  

But when we crept underneath it, we couldn’t believe our eyes. The curved branches created a quiet little world, right in the center of campus. The best part was the trunk—it was carved with tons of dates, initials and hearts. My semester had been marked by stress and worries over what to do after graduation, but beneath the beautiful canopy of leaves, I found a rare moment of peace.

When I visited the tree last week, it took my breath away yet again. Just like when I was a senior, I’m still unsure about what the future holds (maybe that feeling never goes away!). But standing again underneath that leafy masterpiece of God’s creation, all felt right with the world.

What about you? What little-known spots stick out in your mind? We want to know—email us at [email protected] with your favorite “Secret Space”! 

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