| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:16

    WARWICK-Overgrown with trees and brush in a back lot of Mount Alverno, in Warwick, lie the twelve stations of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. I came to witness them as I took a break from my task of mowing the lawns at Mount Alverno one day. Built of local fieldstone pillars capped with large stone roofs pointing at a gentle slope toward the heavens lie the stations. A metal cast depicts a scene at each and every station of what this man did for you and me. As I walk the path from beginning to end, I could not help but wonder, "What would I have experienced when this ground was well kept," in the high times of Mount Alverno. I was told that in its heyday, beautiful gardens and landscape surrounded this site, that this site was the focal point of Mount Alverno. During the height of this community, "The garden of Eden I could imagine." On a gentle slope in the north-west section acreage, the first station stands. Since the first station is only ten feet from a neighboring Woodside Drive lot, the trees and brush have not taken over. It is the judgment of Christ. I think, "Like the judgment of mankind." As I walk to the next station, leaves cover the walkway. The start of the crucifixion and foliage has its roots deep. I ponder the ramifications of this view before me. Is this like man being lost in the forest to forget? Between station four and five an eight-inch evergreen has fallen across the walkway. I step over it. Further along the path up an incline the walkway is totally obscure. Trees and undergrowth encroach the path. Yet each station remarkably is unto itself. Though these trees surround the stations, the stations are still preserved. This is a testament to the craftsmanship of those before who erected these monuments. I continue on and startle a deer. She arose and simply noticed me. She looked into my heart and did not run. As I continued on she gracefully walked the other way, paused and looked back at me by the edge of these stations. The deer even know they are safe in His presence. I decided to kick the leaves aside at station ten. A large oak tree I believe has grown. The roots of this tree have cracked the walkway. I am saddened. Has man, like this tree that flourishes, caused His path to be broken? A light shines from above Station Eleven. This is the station where man nailed Jesus Christ to the cross. My heart becomes enlightened. How fitting that His light and the sunlight decide to shine on this spot, for me and for all who would venture with history unto this walkway. The remaining stations have fallen trees nearby. I quietly went back to mowing the lawns, hoping to see the stations well-kept. — By Chad G. Bell [Editor's note: This essay was submitted to this year's Orange County Day writing contest, which celebrates the natural and historic treasures of the area.]