Gilead

Robinson, Marilynne

Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2004

p. 63

The 76-year-old minister John Ames writes a letter to his 7-year-old son Robby (to be saved and read by Robby when he grows up).  Sometimes he writes while looking out the window: “You and Tobias are hopping around in the sprinkler.  The sprinkler is a magnificent invention because it exposes raindrops to sunshine.  That does occur in nature, but it is rare.  When I was in seminary I used to go sometimes to watch the Baptists down at the river.  It was something to see the preacher lifting the one who was being baptized up out of the water and the water pouring off the garments and the hair.  It did look like a birth or a resurrection [dying and rising with Christ, as in Col. 2 and 3].  For us the water just heightens the touch of the pastor’s hand on the sweet bones of the head, sort of like making an electrical connection.  I’ve always loved to baptize people, though I have sometimes wished there were more shimmer and splash involved in the way we go about it.  Well, but you two are dancing around in your iridescent little downpour, whooping and stomping as sane people ought to do when they encounter a thing so miraculous as water.”