Sunday, December 2, 2007

The snows of Advent

A quote, and an observation: This weekend I read John Cheever's novel Bullet Park for English class. Its protagonist, Eliot Nailles, is introduced as he sits in church thinking about how "his sense of the church calendar was much more closely associated with the weather than with the revelations and strictures in Holy Gospel":
Saint Paul meant blizzards. Saint Matthias 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. [...] 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 Revelations 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 Saint Andrew and the snows of Advent.
So I think Mr. Cheever would be happy to know that his analysis of Hudson Valley weather as it corresponds to the liturgical calendar was spot-on today. It is the first Sunday of Advent and the first snow fell last night.

This is what the Vassar campus (the library, the cathedral of knowledge) looked like at about noon today.

Happy holidays, everybody!

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