Every morning as I walk to work, the city of New Haven washes over me, one socio-economic level at a time. I turn left at the end of my block and my feet touch cracked pavement; even in the winter, it is still laced with brownish weeds. The city projects loom off to my far right. If it is a quiet morning, gospel music and / or rap beats drift from the clapboard houses, an incense of sound and swears. The people I pass along the way are enfolded in over-sized hoodies or wrapped in form-fitting jeans. Their presence makes me think of the mystic, Julian of Norwich. “God is our clothing,” she once wrote, “for God is that love which wraps and enfolds us.”
As I walk down the street, the gardens become tidier and the houses more neatly painted. I turn right and pass under the shade of an apple tree. It is here in the Fall that I walk through apples, yellow and pink. It is winter now, but a single apple, small and spherical, still nestles among the roots. I pick up the apple; it fits snugly in my hand. Again, I think of Julian. In her visions, Julian once saw a tiny sphere in the palm of her hand, no bigger than a hazelnut. “What can this be?” She had asked. “It is everything that is made,” God had answered.
Just past the apple tree stands the Yale Health Plan in its asymmetrical glory. I walk through its chunky, metal arch and I am now in the outskirts of Yale University. The Grove Street graveyard’s west wall is my companion on this part of journey. As it stretches alongside me, its brownstone brothers to the north, south, northeast, and east help it to embrace the bones of Yalies and New Haveners alike.
The bells of Christ Church toll ten; I am on campus. The people I now pass still wear sweatshirts and skinny jeans; but the sweatshirts now display college crests and the jeans are paired with blazers. “God is our clothing,” I whisper, “for God is that love which wraps and enfolds us.”
A shock of red catches the corner of my eye, I glance over. There are apples, piled in colorful pyramids outside the local grocer. I stare at them: “What can this be?” I say. I close my eyes, and Julian answers me: “It is everything that was made.”