Whose Gates Are These?

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Last Saturday I wrote about what I call My Grandfather’s Gates—the enormous black iron gateway to Columbia University that my iron-worker grandfather helped to build, those gates that whether every weather and age, that the young walk through into their new college life. Later that day I received this from the photographer Bob Nielsen, who, interestingly, had just gifted me with a photograph he’d taken of New York City, “I went to law and business schools at Columbia, and every morning walked through your grandfather’s gates on my way to class. Those gates were a portal for me in so many ways. They have subsequently served as a touch-point whenever I’ve gone back to New York and up to Morningside Heights, and reflected on where I am, how far I’ve come.” Pictured here is another gate, a much smaller gate, this one built by my grandfather alone, that welcomed me as a child every Sunday afternoon.

My wish, in all I do is to reinforce, to strengthen, the circle we all stand in, to be sure the earth is unforgotten, and for us to stand in that circle knowing how inextricably we’re bound to one another, knowing that honesty, imagination, and love are the gates to our long-lastingness.