SUNDAY I GO TO CHURCH, and church is outside in the dark early morning, under the stars, inhaling the fresh air, and watching the possum make it across the road because, on Sunday, traffic is substantially reduced. Outside, with large oak trees reaching toward the sky instead of man-made spires, my step is inspired by the spiritual richness of nature. I may not be able to see the owl in the trees, but I can hear it hooting a welcome as I pass by. I’m going at a good pace, listening to the regular, even exhalation of my breath, and thinking about making my walk my post for the day. I’ve turned left into a sharp dip where the darkness envelops me, so I flick on my miniature flashlight to make sure I don’t trip over any tree debris. Then I hop over the lip of a curb and turn east where the sky is beginning to whiten. It’s uphill now for about a hundred yards and I’m pushing to take the incline quickly. I’m thinking that this better help my blood pressure! Now I’m almost to the home stretch, and if there’s a sermon in this church it’s the healthy message of the natural world in the peace and quiet of the early morning, the condensation forming on my beard, and the assurance that, beginning my day in this way, I can handle whatever is in store for me, and then I’m into the brief woods and I can see a street light through the trees up ahead and when I come out of the woods there’s my house, just four mailboxes up on the dead end street. Church is out. It’s coffee time.