Tuesday, March 24, 2015

An excerpt from Pilot Point for Passion Week

In many church traditions, including my traditional Anglican one, of course, this week is Passion Week, which focuses on the Passion of Christ.  It serves as good preparation for Holy Week, which begins this Palm Sunday.

I think this a good time to post the following excerpt from Pilot Point based on a location on Interstate 20.  For years, the Kendrick Religious Diorama portrayed Bible events, including the Passion.  And they placed on a mound just off the north side of I-20 in West Texas a freestanding portrayal of Jesus carrying his cross to remind people of Christ’s Passion and to make people aware of the diorama.

Here you may find some history concerning the Kendrick Diorama.  I’ve called a number I found to see if perhaps it has reopened.  But I received no answer.  So I guess it is still closed.  And, as it has been many years since I’ve driven that stretch of I-20, I do not know if any remains of the little statue remain on the mound.

Here is the passage in which the 13-year-old orphan Clayton Hays first sees the statue of Jesus in the midst of a dust storm.  Yes, this location is of significance to the novel more than once.  But I shall not say more.

Grains of sand blew away from him. He focused on them, following them until they disappeared. Then, he made out waves of dust and sand surrounding him. The waves blew past and away from him. He gazed at them, wave after wave. Soon, the sand blowing away from him looked to him like a tunnel of dust with never-ending walls. The walls of dust led to a point of nothingness. The point shifted around with the shifting wind. Laying his head against the seat, he kept gazing out his window at the dust blowing away from him in a tunnel of chaos. His mind drifted off with the dust. It seemed time and the world was being blown away past him into an infinity of dust.

         He was almost drifting off to sleep when something caught his eye. He lifted his head and saw something to the left of the road that he had noticed on drives before. But seeing it through the dust made it strange and haunting. He turned toward it. On the side of a rough, steep mound were large letters stuck into the soil. Clayton could make out “KENDRICK RELIGIOUS DIORAMA.”

         On top of the hillock was a lone small statue of Jesus. The statue was draped in a light blue tunic—light hues out of place in the brown darkness—and crowned with a garland of thorns. His eyes were fixed downward on the dark way ahead of him. He was walking weighed down, carrying a cross amidst a field of crosses.

         Wind and dust were whipping around him. And the cross was heavy. But, though burdened and weary, he did not totter or waver.

         The boy had seen many paintings and statues of Jesus, but this one was different somehow. This Jesus was so forlorn and windblown, and so alone, as he carried his cross. Seeing the lonely shadow of Jesus bowed over through the dust, it seemed he was carrying the whole weight of the dust storm as well.

         The dust thickened and obscured the lonely hillock, and Clayton could see it no more.

         Before, the boy had always thought the mound was overly religious. But now he was strangely moved by it. He stared back into the dust toward the veiled hill.

         He turned back forward in his seat and let his mind wander.


Pilot Point is available in both print and Kindle on Amazon.

This Friday and Saturday, I will be doing book signings for Pilot Point in Denton and in the town of Pilot Point itself.  The schedule is as follows:

Friday, March 27th
3-6pm    Recycled Books  (A great used book and music store, by the way, where I’ve bought any number of books, including from the Victorian era.)

Pilot Point:
Saturday, March 28th
10am-noon Sweetwater Coffee House
1pm           Pilot Point Community Library
around 2pm  Lowbrows

And do be sure to like Pilot Point on Facebook.

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