“How wearisome it must be,” I tell the hill, “to be a God, angry or not. After all, there’s nothing I particularly have to do, but at some point I will die, which will be nice. Because really, there is a moment at the party when it’s time to leave. But there God is, the perpetual host, greeting the newcomers even as he is shepherding the others out the door. Always a smile, always a greeting, and the glass never goes un-refreshed.”
“What a remarkable view of the world you have,” returned the hill. “Look at me—the angry god vanished long ago, and glad I was to be rid of him. The fury scoured the life out of me, and yet I remain. Will he come back? I hope so….”
“Because we need them, angry or not. There is, even in their destruction, something of beauty. Look at the ravine. Do you see how the boulders are hurled against the landscape?”
It was impossible not to see.
“Is it true he did this? This seems more to be the god of hate, not of anger.”
“Perceptive,” said the hill. “There are similarities, to be sure, but they are altogether quite different. No, no—I know the god of hate, and he’s absolutely not the god of anger.”
“There can be a lot of love in anger,” I said to the hill. “In fact, the more I love, the more angry I can be.”
“Of course,” said the hill, “it’s altogether possible for the god of love to be the god of anger, as well.”
“Well, I’ve never bought into the particular belief that god is love,” I told the hill. “I think that there’s so much more. Many more colors on the palate than this rather insipid gold….”
“Despair,” said the hill. “Do you imagine there is a god of despair?”
“There must be,” I said. “Since the world of despair is so perfectly formed. The contours of it, the endless bottomlessness of it. It’s astonishing ability to encompass everything. Oh, yes, there must be a god of despair.”
“Then it follows,” said the hill, “that there must be a god for everything. The god of sarcasm, for example, or the god of misaddressed letters.”
“The god of the moment when you realize that your life dream will never materialize.”
“The god of the moment when you first feel life stir in you,” said the hill.
“The god of the moment when the dew forms on the grass,” I said.
Suddenly, a rainbow appeared of the crest of the hill.
“Ah,” said the hill, “you know what that means.”
“Not really,” I said. “Though I don’t much like rainbows….”
“Nor do I,” said the hill. “They are, after all, merely the yawns of god.”
“Ah, the god of boredom! How very busy, or lethargic, he must be!”
“He does get around,” said the hill. “Do you know the one god I miss?”
“I miss the god of those who seek. Because he is the one god who can never be present. He is always in the next room, having just left the room whose door you’ve just opened. He is the perfume that lingers on the handkerchief of the beloved who has left you. He is the echo of the last note of the b minor mass.”
“Yes,” I told him. “And he must be a very lonely god, since none of the seekers can know him. He is the memory of a dead mother’s caress.”
“The last candle blown out in the palace.”
“Yes, lonely,” I tell the hill. “and yet, curiously appealing, for how many of us seek him? We who are even not sure that he exists? And yet we seek.”
“Why,” said the hill. “I never sought a god, and still the angry god came to me, and changed me, and now nothing will ever be the same. Why seek? Why not wait, instead, for the god to come to you? The god that you need, if not deserve. You could end up like me, you know.”
“There’s no particular pleasure in aridity,” I said. “Though it has its advantages. Do you know what god will come to me, if I wait long enough?”
“And will you tell me?”
“I can’t, of course. Because then you will expect him, and that expectation will change you, and then the god must be different. No, you have to wait, and be surprised when he arrives, with his boredom or glee or elation.”
“And if he doesn’t come?”
“Ahh,” said the hill, and then said no more.