A Walk in Advent

Another day of clouds, as if Anglican weather had settled in over Dallas for good. Those tasked with reading the tea leaves of radar said rain was coming after midday. So if I was going to walk, this was the time.

The trail was full of lightly clad runners, as if this were still September. Smoke hovered around the barbeque place. A sign announced a future playground. I saw some things I had not noticed before—others were familiar as an old shoe. When you walk you see temporal layers: the old, the novel, the familiar, the first-noticed. 

Down near the bus terminal was a mixture of life: some encampments, some children playing. A self-storage unit brought to mind the Prairie Home Companion gag: that this is a place you go to store yourself. “We’ll come get you at Easter,” the cheery voice says as the door clangs and the lock turns. 

Then the old red building, out-of-time. Nearby a plaque says that the president was killed by bullets shot from that building. The concrete hollow cube monument hovers, topless, a bit above the ground, with slender openings on two sides, and in the middle, the flat polished square with his name, nothing more. Sometimes it moves me to walk in there. Is it hope, as the plaque wants to say it is? Or is it something vanished, something gone?

East on Main Street, on one corner loudspeakers producing loud music, living up to their name. A later corner had silent evangelists standing near their books. Under another interstate were evidences of past encampments. And then the coffee shop appeared. Beside me a man was explaining what his recording equipment could do for a younger woman.

The bookstore was open. They stock books in English that they publish themselves, and invite customers to come in and touch any books they want. One table held books in English translation, including contemporary novels about post-Soviet Russia.

The hospital is still there, as is the park. It had a row of sponsored Christmas trees in competition: which one is best decorated? One of them had arms coming out of its sides.

And then home, just before thunder announced the rain.


Take a walk this week, and look, and think. And pray. This is the world he came into. What does he see? What strange love made him come!


The Rev. Canon Victor Lee Austin. Ph.D., is the Theologian-in-Residence for the diocese and is the author of several books including, "Friendship: The Heart of Being Human" and "A Post-Covid Catechesis.: