He says he cannot believe in angels because he has never seen one. I do not believe in his sort of angels, but not for lack of visual confirmation, rather that I live in a world that now is so deeply in need, that an angel might be our last, best hope, but the scope of angelic miracles is not likely wide enough to encompass the utter disaster which we have created.
I tell him that I do believe in angels, that I have met several in my life, and scowl when he laughs so that he must consider that I am serious, and then he asks what an angel looks like, so he will recognize one when and if he ever sees one.
I advise him that you don’t have to search all that hard, that you merely need to be aware, and watch the face of the baby when you stop and coo at him or her as they lie in their stroller, staring up at the always welcoming sky.
God is fixed in the firmament seen as puppet master by some patrician uncle, small child endlessly shifting blocks in new, transitory universes. All things recede from a point, have since the creation and that point, dimensionless is God, vast and infinite. It swings lazily, back, forth a needle in its cusp tracing lines in the bed of sand in constant motion as we and earth, and all of our universe spin slowly around its focus, it swings lazily back, forth, tracing an ever-shifting path marked in displaced sand ponderous from its fine steel tendril which rises to a point without size, shape, or time, frozen a singularity from which all else emanates. God lives, bat-like on the ceiling of the San Francisco Science Museum and the Hayden Planetarium and countless other buildings given to science, omnipresent yet fixed dimensionless and infinite always a ladder’s climb just out of reach.
Consider, for a moment he said the absurdity of it all a guy with brains enough to shape universes who can flick on stars with a thought faster than you or I can throw a switch who, worst case gives a lizard a kick in the ass and ends up with man that a guy
with this kind of power is going to write his story down on a bunch of tablets or have an old coot wander the desert endlessly pen and parchment in hand taking dictation and then leave the scrolls scattered in caves it makes no freakin’ sense.
If it was me he said standing on a hill watching some scrub pine slowly burn onward no ashes, no embers just keeps on burning and if I heard a voice giving me orders when I couldn’t see anyone to go and slap
some soldier upside the head or march into a river hoping to find the stones followed by miles of lemmings lined up behind me not this kid me, I’d look for a screen and some short professor from somewhere in Kansas.
Do you buy for a minute he said that he would wander sucking sand from his navel and getting called to haul his ass up a mountain for a crisis meeting and then have to schlep tablets down the hill eating hardtack and pretending to like it then telling his wife he knew where he was he wasn’t lost so what if it was forty years Miriam was really going to buy that and Aaron had to be thrilled dragging the damn ark like a bloody albatross then looking down into the valley he’s gonna say okay, that’s it go on without me I just got word I gotta croak here but keep a kind thought, fat chance of that ever happening.
There are two keys to it, really the first, and easier, is to make a well with your hands, that would need be not all that deep, just enough to hold your thoughts as you work. The second is to add just the right amount, too little and it is dry and doesn’t hold together, too much and it will refuse to obey your command. Dust it well, and constantly as you work, that is the third key, but we don’t call it a key, for there should only be two keys to everything. And finally, no matter how long you think it will take, it will never take that long, always longer or shorter, never that long, but when you are done, you must savor it while looking for those thoughts you left in the now transmuted well of the making of your hands.
One thousand cranes take flight and there is a sudden silence as the cat stares up, bidding them farewell. We barely stop to notice, despite the rainbow of colors replacing the clouds, even the sun seeming to pause in wonder. Two thousand hands made this happen, one person, unrelenting, knowing anything less would be nothing at all. Each crane dips its head in appreciation for its freedom, no longer trapped in a two-dimensional prison.
In deeply hidden corners of my memory snapshots of my childhood reappear from forgotten albums. I want to know what was happening just out of frame, or in the next picture in the series but these negatives are lost and so I am left to draw my own pictures, write my own story, and accept it as truth.
“We created time,” he said, “so we are free to ignore it whenever we wish, don’t tell me that I am late, for that is only by your clock and you should know that most clocks are never right. It is only the stopped clock that is right, and that only twice each day.” We nervously stared at our watches, finally saying, “so sorry but we are late for something critical, and will see you tomorrow, same time, same place.”
God created man in God’s image much as man created God in his. If there were no God, there could be no man, and yet, if there were no man, there would be no God. Perhaps Aristotle had it right but certainly easier, noting that bird and egg must have always existed, and so for that moment, Aristotle without knowing it, created both man and God.