08 February 2015

Bullet Park

                                                                                  by John Cheever

Holy Communion. Sexagesima. Nailles heard a cricket in the chancel and the noise of a tin drum from the rain gutters while he said his prayers. His sense of the church calendar was much more closely associated with the weather than with the revelations and structures in Holy Gospel. St. Paul meant blizzards. St. Mathais meant a thaw. For the marriage at Cana and the cleansing of the leper the oil furnace would still be running although the vents in the stained-glass windows were sometimes open to the raw spring air. Abstain from fornication. Possess your vessel in honor. Jesus departs from the coast of Tyre and Sidon as the skiing ends. For the crucifixion a bobsled stands stranded in a flowerbed, its painter coiled among the early violets. The trout streams open for the resurrection. The crimson cloths at Pentecost and the miracle of the tongues meant swimming. St. James and Resurrection fell on the first warm days of summer when you could smell the climbing roses by the window and when an occasional stray bee would buzz into the house of God and buzz out again. Trinity carried one into summer, the dog days and the drought, and the parable of the samaritan was spoken as the season changed and the gentle sounds of the night garden turned as harsh as hardware. The flesh lusteth against the spirit to the smoke of leaf fires as did the raising of the dead. Then one was back again with St. Andrew and the snows of Advent.

From Chapter 2 of John Cheever, Bullet Park, 1969.

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