A Heavenly Cigar
It's somewhere between one and two in the morning and I'm on my patio lighting my cigar. There is a little wind and it takes several tries because my lighter keeps blowing out.
Finally I am able to cook the end of the cigar enough to start drawing on the other end so it can sustain a nice glowing burn. I don't realize until then how tired I really am and I blink away the acrid smoke and sleep that are irritating my eyes. The cigar smells good though. Reminds me of my grandfather. Opa smoking his pipe on the patio in Holland many years ago.
It's not my usual cigar, it's called a Robusto by Rocky Patel. The brand name is odd, like the name of a boxer or fighter, but the other flavors by the same company are amazing and I hope to have another figurative out-of-body experience with this one.
But this one is not quite the same as the others. Instead, something else happens, something amazing. After a few puffs, I exhale smoke through my nose. It hits me. I feel my legs relax, and my head feels smooth.
Then I notice a difference, a new awareness compelling my senses. Colors grow brighter, my vision gets sharper and the sleep is leaving my eyes. I become intensely aware of the night outside beyond the short fence that borders my patio.
Yellow light from the street lamps make the wee hours of the night seem like another kind of day. A neighbor's Christmas lights take on the defined shapes of hanging semi-circles over the garage and I notice the red, green and blue lights in the small tree on their lawn. My truck is parked directly in front of my apartment and it gains a defined outline, its black trim in stark contrast to its white body.
There is a thick fog that obscures the street beginning half a block away, its mists encroaching the middle of the quiet, peaceful roundabout at the corner of my apartment block. The dense vapors are most apparent around the two lamps in the middle of the intersection, as if cozying up to them like a cat curled up in its favorite place on top of a high bookshelf.
Thoughts start to form and curl around in my mind like the fog itself. The smoke from my cigar blows around my face in the gentle wind. It merges seamlessly with the cloud that has descended to the streets as if to convey that there is a spiritual plane above us and we need to be reminded of its existence, to be in awe and fear of it.
Yet I know that even if this vapor that is back lighted by a multitude of street lights - really is some kind of heavenly fragment, it is but a bare wisp of the glory above. I know that heaven is filled with not only greater colors in a greater variety of hues, but a brilliance that would blind an ordinary man. No man can look at the face of God and live. Even Moses, who was not allowed to look at the face of God, his own face shone with God's glory just because he was in His presence.
Perhaps the fog I experienced with renewed eyes is just a fog, but God's comings and goings are marked by clouds. For a moment, I glimpsed a small essence of that glory in the company of a cigar, simple street lamps and the thick mist that surrounded me tonight.