“Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of Hosts, my King and my God.”
— Psalms 84:3 NRSV
The neighborhood may not be as exclusive as the Lord’s altars, but these sparrows have found a pretty little spot in front of Rafael’s Restaurant in Winchester, Tennessee. The pizza at Rafael’s is good (and cheap! Two for one!) but perhaps my favorite part of going there are the nests in the neon letters out in front. The strip-mall where the restaurant is located is a typical example of the High American Hideous style, acres of asphalt dominated by a big-box Walmart. You don’t have to go too far behind the row of stores to find yourself in rolling acres of lovely verdant farmland, but all of that is pushed to the rear of your experience in the area, remnants of way of life long out of date. The strip-mall here, as everywhere I’ve ever encountered them, is a soul-crushing experience, one that fills me with despair for truth and goodness in this world. And then I see the sparrows flying in and out of the S at Rafael’s. My spirits lift, and I enter for a tasty slice.