Gilead

Robinson, Marilynne

Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2004

pp. 27-28

John Ames, a 76-year-old minister, dying from heart failure, writes to his son about how he has experienced life.  “There was a young couple strolling along half a block ahead of me.  The sun had come up brilliantly after a heavy rain, and the trees were glistening and very wet.  On some impulse, plain exuberance I suppose, the fellow jumped up and caught hold of a branch, and a storm of luminous water came pouring down on the two of them, and they laughed and took off running, the girl sweeping water off her hair and her dress as if she was a little bit disgusted, but she wasn’t.  It was a beautiful thing to see, like something from a myth.  I don’t know why I thought of that now, except perhaps that it is easy to believe in such moments that water was made primarily for blessing, and only secondarily for growing vegetables or doing the wash.”