“The fog. The fog billows by. The fog that surrounds during the night slowly retreats. So too begins the morning retreat of the infamous San Francisco fog, slowly but surely back into the Pacific, only to return once again every night. And so it is, the way of Peter Gollinger’s life since he was born. The wet blanket of billowing fog all night is all he knows.”

The night time fog coming into to the Golden Gate Bridge.
Turn of the century Victorians emblematic of old San Francisco. Peter would love to live in one of these. However…..


…. he lives in this neighbor instead closer to his beloved Pacific fog.


And from Peter’s Parkside studio rental, one can go running along the coastal Great Highway.

The mist and fog in Peter’s redwood groves.

A banana slug. Pivotal turning point hero of the story.

As did her Jesuit professors at Georgetown, Jean-Paul is trying to enlighten her with inquisitive interactions. He points to the worm and asks, “Why do you think this creature is here? It seems so out of place.”
She looks at it and agrees it does seem out of place. “It is just a worm, Jean-Paul. A simple worm.” She pauses to reflect more deeply, having previously experienced how Jesuits never accept simple answers. “The woman has purified her relationship with God by cleansing the apple of the worm.”
Jean-Paul smiles, serenely, but maybe hiding a chuckle at her answer. “Look closely. It has eyes and spots.”
She looks more closely. It does have spots! How?
Jean-Paul pulls the logic string tighter, going for closure. “Remember Mei’s yellow earrings, the ones you wore but tossed at Peter on the plane? The yellow bugs with red spots. The mollusks, according to your Little Boy.”
Zara, the woman who is fully coherent and functional during a rainstorm of thousand-pound bombs, freezes with this thought. It could not be. It simply could not be. The silly little boy’s banana slug. How could someone seven thousand years ago envision a banana slug would be next to a woman who speaks with God? Is this idolatry which she should ignore, burn, destroy? Or is this truly the sign from God?


Photos 1, 2, 5, & 6 are Creative Commons — CC0 1.0 Universal sourced from Pixabay and Pexel. Photos 3 & 4 are Copyright 2017 Tail of the Bird Books.

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