The first grey light penetrated the darkness. I closed my eyes hoping sleep would return, but the sky was blanching quickly. Beside me, Susie murmured, rolled over. Through the half opened window a bird sounded, then another answered, back and forth, calling me from my bed. Slipping from the covers, I padded to my wide glass bay. There, my toy animals had already gathered. Lionel, my lion, stood on my knees, king and guardian. There was a third bird now. Its note excited the other two, and their song built to its crescendo. As the light whitened, shapes emerged from night – trees like black ghosts, fat bushes like squatting trolls. I pushed the window open wider. Cool air came in like a streamer, carrying drifting Garden smells. I shivered, once.
“Mom, I didn’t do it!” Susie cried.
Susie could sleep talk whole paragraphs, which usually made me smile. This morning, though, I thought again of Susie’s angry teacher looking for the calculator thief. We had to stop all the bad things she was doing. Susie was sure to get caught if we didn’t.
A fourth bird joined the morning chorale, then another and a sixth. I paid careful attention now. The sun’s first rays would soon shoot into the garden like arrow quivers. As they struck, dark trees and plants would regain colour. Susie and I believed that seeing the first yellow light was seeing God, but just for that single millisecond. That millisecond was His blessing, apprehended like a secret.
[Excerpt Landslide, Pages 153 and 155]