A voice from above.
It never does to discuss politics, religion or sport in a journal of this nature as doing so simply invites insults. In a nation seemingly half of whose residents are born again something-or-other you can bet that religion, especially, will attract the worst in language.
So rather than dwell on it, let me just say that when it comes to religion I am a death bed conversion type. When I’m checking out I propose to welcome God to my soul with open arms. After all, the odds make no sense to deny His existence. If you are right and there is no God, fine, but if you are wrong, watch out. The believer, on the other hand, has the same chance of being right – 50/50 – but if he is wrong it matters not one whit. Dust to dust. If, on the other hand, he is right, it places him in a far better spot than the fellow who dies denying God’s existence. Blaise Pascal got there before me.
Now during these summer months you will find me wandering across the upper driveway, vicious guard dog by my side, en route to the pump room. There I manually switch over a couple of water valves and push a button or two with the happy result that the zinfandel vines get their two gallons of goodness for the day. It’s an unyielding routine, based in the profit motive, and none too onerous at that.
But this morning was different. As Bert the Border Terrier and his master approached the pump room there was a massive rushing noise from the skies and a loud voice intoned ‘Good Morning’. Oh! Boy, I thought, I have finally bought it and a thousand thoughts of good Catholic guilt pulsed through my brain as I checked just how badly I had behaved before entering eternal life. The Border and I glanced skyward in supplication only to see:
Bertie and the balloon.
The balloon had descended to no more than twenty feet and the roar was from its flame as it sought to avoid an emergency landing on the old estate. Lucky they had fuel as the terrier was drooling at the mouth and generally displaying his normal killer guard dog style behavior. (Actually his tail nearly came off from excess wagging, but I live a fantasy life anyway). The pilot was so close we exchanged greetings – given that I was still in my jammies even a casual observer could not but comment approvingly on my general air of insouciance – and he reassured me how gorgeous the view was from above.
I breathed a sigh of relief and concluded my time here was not yet up on this best of worlds and that, hopefully, I would be enjoying the grape harvest in three months or so. And when you gaze on the beauty that is California, maybe there is a God after all?