It is irresistible. We walk to Bethlehem, bells ringing, bringing our sheep. My uncle carries the injured one on his shoulders, and we travel familiar, narrow by-ways that keep us, always, at the margins of the city—away from marketplaces and inns, for we know our place; we are shepherds; we stink of the sheep.From Elizabeth Scalia comes a very good short story, almost just a snapshot really, of the Nativity from a shepherd boy's point of view. Read it at First Things.
We find the hewn place, like a cave, and again there is light or not light, precisely—oh, how do I tell it? It is a kind of mist of brightness, and it is alive; it contains a hum, a buzz, a fizz that is like pulsing life, and it is everywhere, and it bathes everything and everyone in its warm glow.
What I like about this so much is that Scalia paints the place so vividly. I could hear the fire crackle, feel the rough trails under my feet, and see the young mother's pride. I especially liked the way that details were introduced which followed very logically but which I hadn't thought of before ... such as the fact that shepherds would naturally take their sheep with them.
Scalia is an expert nonfiction writer who often inspires me ... but I think we need more fiction from her. She's good.