We’d been hiking for hours, the wind sandblasting our faces and whipping up dust devils as tall as the rock canyon walls. I wasn’t sure why we had come, or what we were there to see. And when we arrived, I still didn’t know. But I couldn’t doubt that what we had found were gods.
What is a god? In a priesthood meeting, the teacher had gone on a tear about the Trinity. It made no sense, he argued, for a being to be three in one or one in three. To consider such an idea simply confused the mind. On a whim, I considered it, probing the possibility. The beams girding my Mormon mind creaked from this unexpected movement, some mental plumbing shuddered, and then a still, small door opened.
As I stood watching the canyon wall, the wind and the hike forgotten, that door in my mind blew open again, this time ripped right from its hinges. The Trinity was child’s play. Here was an entire gallery of gods.
But what are these gods? Some seem shadows, others more architecture than organism. Do they have faces? Eyes? Hands? They tower. They sway. Snakes crawl in their lungs. Animals fight in their hearts. Ghosts slip through their eyes.
Is this what the gods are like?
We don’t meet gods. We don’t see or touch them. We brush up against something that may have once felt a god’s breath in a dream—like thousand-year-old paintings on the wall of a rock canyon, or the story of a 14-year-old boy. And then we tell stories about that possible breath, praying that our words will break apart, that fault lines will shift, that doors will fly open.
That we, too, will begin to dream.