I'd gone down to the clearing to make the morning offering to the stang.

But the stang wasn't there.

(It turned out later that the stang's keeper had moved it, but that doesn't really enter into this story.)

Now, it's always best to offer towards: in this case, towards an icon.

Well, I had the offerings and it was the time of offering, so I made the usual offerings and said the usual prayers to the Invisible Stang instead: to the stang that wasn't there.

Of course, every visible stang—and every icon—is (shall we say) overlain by the invisible stang anyway (or should be, at least).

Being (like humanity generally) a natural idolater, I sometimes forget the potency of Absence: that paradoxical Presence in Absence. This, I suppose, is the drivng force behind aniconism: the denial of the image.

Well, I'm a pagan, and we pagans love our images.

But still, let me not forget the Invisible Stang.