Among the Summer Snows

The opening paragraph:

IF THERE IS still a god, I sometimes think, he is not the great, crotchety being who was supposed to keep watch over us all. That ancient deity has fallen asleep or forgotten us, or he has become distracted by other concerns, or has lost patience with our pettiness, and instead we now have small gods, local gods, each with his or her specialist affiliation, a bit like a vicar with a parish. The river gods drip with mud and slime, the tree gods are long-limbed, spotted by mould, hairy with lichen, the desert gods are thin, shadowy creatures that move in the rippling hazes. The sea gods may be glimpsed like seals in bright water, their sleek, dark, bewhiskered heads appearing and disappearing in the troughs between waves some distance offshore. As for the gods of summer snow, I imagine them as short and muscular, trudging each late spring over the mountains to take up temporary residences in their allotted snowbeds. Deep in the ice, their features set in a disgruntled expression, they squat in silent, blue trances.