Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • I walked through Central Park this morning. I walked north of Sheep's Meadow, crossed the Great Lawn, and walked south along Central Park's east drive until I crossed west at 72nd street to walk above Bethesda Fountain.

    Before Bethesda Fountain, the silence of my walk had been interrupted by women discussing their ezcema and dermatologists, and by a jogging couple who loudly debated how their friends, new parents, place "hundreds of kisses" on their new baby.

    Many others had run or walked by me saying nothing in the quiet of a cold Sunday morning in Central Park.

    Above Bethesda Fountain, the quiet was interrupted by the escalating echoes of a large chorus harmonizing.

    I peeked down the stairs of the fountain, assuming I would find at its bottom an Ivy League singing group seeking viral video-type attention. But I saw no group by the fountain.

    I then looked down the central staircase expecting to find the group beneath the arches. And I saw no group beneath the arches.

    So I walked first down the western staircase, past a group of tourists admiring the fountain, and past a man boxing with his trainer for the hour.

    Beneath the arches, I found a family of five standing before a stereo. A father paced anxiously in the background as his four children sang before the backing choir of a stereo, and behind a large box for collecting money.

    The four children stood in descending order of height, and tightly wrapped in winter coats. The oldest, a girl, could not have been older than 11, the youngest, a boy, no younger than six.

    The children were harmonizing with the escalating and descending choral voices originating from the stereo. When voices from the stereo hit a high note, the children would sing higher. When the children would pause to catch their breath, the stereo's speakers continued without them.

    I was the only one listening. Two people walked by me as I walked past the singing family. I stopped first to give some money, and then again before the stairs to lean back against an arch and listen.

    Against the arch with my arms crossed behind me, I listened until the stereo track was complete. I then took this photo while watching the couple walk past the donation box. They were consumed by their conversation.

    There were no high notes in the next song. I turned to leave, and walked back up the stairs, into the silence.
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.