At first I am delighted to discover these curving stone Beaux-Arts staircases but afterwards it only takes a moment’s research to tarnish my small but unalloyed joy. I am saddened to learn that when it was built a hundred years ago, this park was seen as part of a sinister effort to demolish a black neighborhood. Even today some see it as a symbol of Jim Crow segregation. Now I can only think of my photograph with mixed feelings. And that makes me wonder: must all truth be unvarnished? Must it always take away the shine? No wonder I turn to God, in whose hands truth purifies joy.

Photo of a black woman climbing a stone stairway at Preston Gardens Park, Baltimore, Maryland.
Photo and text copyright 2019 by Danny N. Schweers.

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Donna wrote:
You bring us such interesting images to reflect upon… thanks for this striking photo.

Royster wrote:

Nina wrote:
I envy you your faith.

Jenny wrote:
Why are my messages getting sent before I hit send? Anyway, keep your messages coming! They are truly beautiful!

Hugh wrote:
A wonderful image. Thanks!

Kay wote:
And my inquiring mind wants to know about the 8 white marks--are they shadows (my first impression), stains or chalk. What do they signify? [Danny replied: Kay: One of the reasons I like this photo is that almost everything is in shadow, but light is coming through some balustrades holding up a railing. Those eight marks that look like bowling pins are light coming through the columns.]

Peter wrote:
Interesting thoughts. Not sure what you mean...truth purifies joy. [Danny replied: You are not the only one who is not sure of the meaning of “truth purifies joy”! This is one of those cases many writers talk about where the words seem to write themselves. That said, they do resonate with me. In the simplest interpretation, these words mean that, with God, truth makes joy shine brighter; that is, learning more does nothing to diminish joy but makes it brighter. In a different interpretation, God is working truth and joy with his hands, mixing them together, and neither the truth or joy is diminished.]

James wrote:
Can’t make an omelet without breaking an egg.
No positive act is purely good.
But static is to wither and die
We must change to deal with the dynamics of the world.
Is this the root of evil?

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