Three Finches appeared in our home in the spring I was 12. My dad let them in. He said I had to read more, so I read. As I did, I saw Atticus Finch wrestle the world and lose, and yet I felt somehow he hadn’t. That spring their world became mine. Atticus and his children moved around my cold room as weightless as birds, and bearing the heat of their realm lightly on their wings freely conveyed their warmth to me for a time so that my own desperate temperature rose by degrees in those days. I liked having them around. I was sad to see them go.
Found God in my closet today, waiting patiently. It’s Good Friday. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I opened the door and there he was. I said you snuck up on me. He said well you’re kind of skittish; a little sheepish. I said life’s been hard. He said yeah, that happens. I said what do you want. He said I got something for you.
There’s a low-slung patch of dark earth between Missouri and Texas where there are diamonds. Fields of them. Pressure and time takes the hot and dirty husk of the world and makes it into gems. The ground stuff loses its identity completely in the process and becomes something different entirely. God at work. It’s a hard thing in the end, and strange looking. But when everything is over, and it’s finally immune to pressure and time and all the meanness of this place, how it reflects the light is something beautiful indeed.
When I walked in the woods in the wind and cold of morning, I could see my kids beside me. Could reach out and touch them. Lay my hand on their heads. I would stop at the edge of the path as we emerged from the trail behind our home in the Columbia River Gorge, and watch them cross the dry, grass field to school. They went the rest of the way alone, moving under the shadow of the giant tree, its enormous boughs stretching out and up and away into the universe. They trudged on, loaded down with coats and hats and backpacks and projects of colored leaves and colored paper. I wondered then if they needed...