Perfect timing: this evening–when I took this photo of St. Boniface–the bells were ringing. It was 6pm (Scout’s supper time; she knows when she hears those bells that I better put food in her bowl). I wish this photo had sound to it so you could hearing the deep, majestic chimes.
St. Boniface is a beautiful old Catholic church (and school) in Cincinnati. It feels like an anchor here in my neighborhood. Perched on a hilly corner, it sits facing a semi-major street and offers shady sanctuary on a summer’s day. Earlier today, I walked the dogs to the coffee shop and as Pruf dragged his way back home, I kept saying to him, “Just make it to St. B, Pruf. We can rest there in the shade.” He made it, so we scampered up the hill and bathed in the shade of the old trees. Scout and I often rest here with Pruf during summer walks.
As an anchor and a landmark, St. Boniface also serves as a meeting place. The dogs and I like to walk with KZ and her dog Lucy. The text messages that arrange these dog-walking dates go something like this: “wanna walk today?” “sure meet me @ St b in 5.” As the dogs and I get closer and closer to the church, we start looking for KZ in her trademark ball cap and little Lucy smiling, wagging, and zig-zagging all over the place. Even on days when we don’t have a walk arranged, the dogs will walk more slowly here, looking around, waiting for KZ and Lucy to appear. They look up at me, as if to say, “why aren’t they here? We’re at St. B. Where are they?”
Since I only interact with the outside of this building, enjoying its shade or waiting to meet a friend, I forget that it’s an active parish and school with a vibrant internal life. Some Saturdays I’ll walk or bike by and see a woman in white, surrounded by women in pastels all lined up on the steps, posing for photos, and I’ll think, “Oh yeah, I guess it is a church and people get married there.” On Sundays, there’s a bit more traffic on the side street by St. B, and, of course, during the school year, playground sounds ricochet through the mid-morning and the buses and crossing guard materialize at 2pm. The building has a life, beyond my own uses of it.