The day I met God—and it was just the one—a voice told me he was out back.
The voice didn’t belong to anyone. It hung in the air like some clouds do that never seem to move. The voice felt like rain. God’s house wasn’t huge. I’d call it upper middle class, but the way the real estate market is, a house that size is comparable price-wise to a two-bedroom apartment in a big city. I went around the side of the house where there was one of those strips of lawn like an alley of grass that doesn’t get much sun and which God obviously didn’t bother to mow much.
He had a pond out back, or maybe it was a lake, because you couldn’t see the other side. Actually, it may have been an ocean, because I smelled salt, but there were no waves. God had his back to me and didn’t see me coming, but he knew I was there and what was in my mind, because he said, “I like a calm, flat surface.”
He also might have heard me because the grass gave way to a carpet of crushed shells. They were all broken, but I could hear the sea in every last one of them, rising up from below, as if each shell was intact and simultaneously pressed to my ears.
God was skimming rocks. He had excellent sidearm form. You could practice skimming rocks for the rest of your life—all day, every day; you could be, or become, the best rock-skimmer in the world, and you wouldn’t be able to skim rocks like this. We’re talking fifteen, twenty, thirty, fifty, 100 bounces with each toss.
I got up next to God and I asked him what he was doing.
He said, “There’s a duck out there. I’m trying to hit it.”
Now, I couldn’t see this duck. It was hard to follow the bounces of the rocks on the water. I could hear the sound the rocks made after I couldn’t see them anymore.
I said, “Why do you want to hit a duck?”
“Not a duck,” God replied. “Just the one that’s out there.”
I took his word for it. I figured he had a reason. A proper, reasonable reason, beyond that he was stalling with mowing that side lawn, though there is something calming about grass that grows abundantly in shade. That grass is so cool in the summer when the grass everywhere else is hot. The last to go yellow, if it even does, which requires a drought. You can lie there. Doze. I’d love that as a kid. Give me a pack of baseball cards to open with a stale piece of gum, a bike for when I wanted to get up again, and a lawn where nobody was looking.