Author: Yonina Andrea Foster, Ph.D.
Gates Circle. Majestic. Have you thought about stopping for a while to take in the sacred space? Buffalo Rising discussed the area surrounding Gates Circle on Delaware Avenue last year. I would like to know when there will be crosswalk stripes to get to this public space. I even left a message at City Hall, calling the 311 number. Hope to hear back soon.
When I visited Gates Circle months back during one of my long walks, I noted the date in Roman Numerals, translated, 1903, and imagined it and Buffalo in a previous heyday with horses and buggies – Buffalonians sitting, visiting, talking. I imagined it was a busy place. A short time ago, I found such a picture on the internet confirming what I had imagined. I learned that the Circle was paid for by a Mrs. Charles W. Pardee, with fountains, greenery, light standards, and that the Circle itself is a “whispering gallery” where you need to watch your words or they’ll be heard on the far side by those who might take interest.
Today, it is quiet. Getting there is a challenge. The fountain spews forth its healing waters, as from a spring in ancient days, high above the streets that radiate out from it. Does anyone, the vehicles, pedestrians, bikers, walkers, feel the spark of energy from the fountain? Born into water, it’s one of the elements for healing and purification. It cleanses, quenches thirst, gives life.
…the Circle itself is a “whispering gallery” where you need to watch your words or they’ll be heard on the far side by those who might take interest.
I look for various ways to ensure I get across the street safely to enter the fountain area itself. I look around. I walk, then sit on the steps, meditate a moment, focusing inward to the fountain rather than the cars traveling east, west, north, and south around it. While there, another person enters and sits, talking on her cell phone, crying. I do not hear. I only see. I stay on my step and look elsewhere. From the other side, a couple saunter in and across the space, playing. The healing water, the cool of the stone. And a circle, no beginning, no end… new structures reaching upward, streets reimagined by contemporary architects to restore life to this historic space.
Maybe you will find time to sit by the healing waters. Use caution, lots of it, to make your way there. Next time I’ll think about dancing around it. Add some joy to myself and laugh at the act. And walk away a bit healed and restored. Maybe you’ll join me.