“Where would he have come?” I wondered as I splashed through the orange leaves on the cemetery lane. Marnell was “at work”, at a Bethlehem, PA, cafe remoting in to his computer back in Middlebury.
Captain Garrison was born in 1701 on Staten Island, New York, before the United States existed. He went to sea at age 13, and led the wild life of a sailor. He tried to reform himself various times, only to fail. He became a hardened Atlantic captain.
Without giving away the story, I’ll say that he gave his heart to Christ. He moved to Germany, to the Moravian colony there, and found a trusting, childlike relationship with Christ in Niesky, Germany. He then moved to the new Moravian Colony in Bethlehem, PA, and there he found a favorite spot over-looking the Lehigh River, where he would go to spend time with God. He named it Niesky, in memory of the place where he had really learned to know Christ in a personal way.
I walked in his footsteps, under my umbrella, at Nisky Hill Cemetery today, and wondered, where might have been his favorite spot, two hundred and fifty years ago? I remembered my dad teaching me that the woods is one of the best places to worship God.
Five white-tailed deer bounded ahead of me, stopping to look back and check on my progress, one with a rack of antlers. A red fox stepped across the cement path ahead of me, where the hill drops to the river.
Wildlife, here in the middle of the city.
Maybe, it was just like this. Maybe it was here that he stopped to pray, even on days when rain fell from the sky and reminded him of the ocean’s salt spray, and the creaking of the masts in a storm.
Soon, I could hear the water squishing in my shoes. But I’m so glad they turned his spot into a cemetery, where the quietness continues.
I didn’t see any Native Americans. But that’s okay, because there were two in my cousin’s house last night, where we were graciously hosted:
Update: Tuesday morning. We are now in Staten Island, off to find the Garrison home if we can. Odd to be in New York City on September 11.