I went downhill then up the cinder cone past quiescent Doug-fir, out of breath now, heart beating loud enough to drown out the flame- lit prayers of some Mexican men possessed by the spirit on so early a Sunday in these woods.
A loose gathering under a canopy of painted sawn wood and tarpaper; each man a picket- post, planted in their God. Is it an immigrant’s splintered glossolalia or a Pentecostal fire that shakes them, loosening tongues of flame above each head? I can’t quite hear. Like the Doug-fir at the top I’m deaf and cold, my lungs burning, mist pearling rain on my face. Yet despite the chill, sap still rises, filling our limbs—the men, trees, me—with the washed gold of the day.