For a long time I stayed from the Western Wall.

It daunted me, that somber wall.  The weight and moment

of those worked stones promised to make the business of

seeing them a complicated one.  So much converges there.  It’s

what we’ve rescued from the madness.  Holiness, dignity, order, proportion.

There are obligations attached to such a visit, what ambiguity

there is in exalted things.  I kept putting off a

visit.  The wall stood apart from the hissing traffic of

Jerusalem like some monument to doomed expectations.  I approached. There

it was.  I considered the vision before me, immeasurably awed.


Paraphrases from the novel The Names by Don DeLillo.