When I was 15, I knew God loved me. Sometimes, I would go out at night, but always made it home by curfew. I would come home and turn the tv on, watching movies until dawn. I am a night owl, by birth, I think, so I am at my best in the wee hours of the morning. I would watch as one movie melded into another, as I was swept away into new worlds. When the Movie Go Round would end, the first vestiges of light would be peeking out from around the moon, and soon after, the sun would rise. I would stand on my porch, in Central California, in the early morning fog, and I would feel alive.
My childhood home was a 3 bedroom ranch house with a bit of property, a rural suburb of a larger city, which really wasn't large at all. My town didn't even have it's own post office, but I had horses so that more than made up for it. Over the years, my family had a small parade of animals: horses, a calf, pigs, ducks, chickens. We had rabbits for a very short time, until our neighbor's dog ripped open the cages and ate them. I remember the tears of both myself and my younger brother. I learned a lesson about the food chain that day. Also, lessons about cruelty, predatory behavior and that neglect and ignorance of your animals is abuse. The neighbor, a puffy swagger of a man was not bothered when he learned his dog had killed my rabbits in cold blood. I realized that day there are things more evil than an animal following its biological impulses. The dog couldn't be helped. The man loosely known as his keeper was another story.
But, this story is about God. On those mornings, with the fog blanketing everything in stillness, I could feel God. In Monterey County, the fog does not come in on little cat feet, contrary to what Carl Sandburg wrote. No, in Monterey County, the fog, which is ever-present, settles in with a thud. It doesn't so much float as paint the skies, the fences, the houses in a thick coating of black and white. Very like my beloved late night movies. Life becomes grainy and indistinct, and takes on an air of unreality.
Under the spell of the fog, ordinary spiders' web becomes coated with diamonds, the dew from the fog enveloping each strand the way Winston drips his jewels on movie stars. (The effect of course, pales in comparison to what the Master Jeweler creates). The fog muffles sounds, and though at five in the morning, there isn't much sound to speak of, what is there is muted, indistinct. Save for the sounds of the animals, who are talking to their Maker, there isn't much conversation.
I would stand on the front porch, and feel the enormity of Life...and, as teenagers are wont to do, believe it was all for me. It really felt that way. God was wooing me, with the day, the animals, the utter joy and peace that emanated from Him on those mornings. I fell in love with my Creator, the one who had woven and spun all that I could see, and so much more that I could not. I could feel the absolute sense of order, and the eye for beauty that one who was so busy with the world, would not seem to have time to find important. And yet, he did. And since I was the only one awake, it was all for me. I would pet my horse as my dog happily trotted at my heels and I would feel a kinship, a certain conspiracy since we knew the secret. God was alive and busy in the world. More importantly, he loved us.
I didn't grow up in a home where faith was the answer. In fact, my childhood taught me to believe mostly in myself. I still have no idea how I came to faith, except those mornings were instrumental in helping me to understand God. I hadn't read the Bible, though I had been to Sunday School some, with friends. But it was he who made himself known to me that pulled me to him. Though I had many years where I questioned, and a brief time in my youth where I followed, that time marked me indelibly as His. I didn't understand doctrine, but I understood Love. It was enough. It was a start.
T, who is waxing poetic tonight