All the creation in the garden didn’t find it surprising anymore the daily cataclysms of energy that brought about a new addition to their world. But today, there were crashing tones, melodies, the wind being played like flutes by slender fingers of haze, hundreds of them sounding off, their melodies cleaving together, wind and soil and petals and pines being thrown about by forceful gusts of energy. Light broke through from within the soil and rendered the music, wind, and all creation immobile and reverent. Then, the light shuffled through the soil again, it hardening at one point into bones and joints, softening in others into flesh and cartilage, as though by invisible fingers, to bring about Hu – the Human.
Hu wiggled his toes into the soil. It felt good. There was a viscous goo throbbing through his eyes and the wings in his eyelashes were out for their first flight. Blood was everywhere in him, pulsating and beating and infusing his dusty hue with vigor.
The willows were drenched in white light that spilled on their leaves. Hu felt the muscles in his core contract and relax. He understood. They were talking to him.
He felt his insides turn inside and out for another message.
Amen, I have made you, Human, in my own image, and after my own likeness. Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over every thing.
Describe creation to yourself.
Hu looked at the arching ferns and willows around him, and it could see golden sap rushing through them, the rush speaking to it. “Willow? Fern? Those are your names. I see you,” a message flew out of him and back to the willows and ferns. It bored with its eyes into every plant, animal, and being around it, to give it a name.
Hu crushed the fennel and sesame seeds with a thumb into its palm, the flavors seeping through its skin. Hu put more of the paste on its tongue. Hu looked around; every creature was settling down for the cool of the late day, with their mate joined and locked in. Hu looked around. Every creature around, all the ones that were named by Hu, had a mate. Hu let out a long sigh, a sigh that started from the heart and shuddered through the rest of the form.
I will bring about your helper.
He felt rumblings beneath his feet, similar in form as those when he walked, but these shook him. The ground swelled with white light, great lumps of color being thrown at all creation and then wiped away by invisible limbs, the sounds of every creature coming together in unison and then separating like the white from a egg yolk. A steady, recurring noise was undulating from the center of Hu’s form. Now, the noise was getting louder. Hu could perceive the noise coming in from the top of his form and then racing through until it ended up in his core. He saw those hurling swathes of color mix with tree leaves, blanching them with light, and then the leaves went back to their original color.
It was the first time to experience this, but Hu understood that the Source was walking towards him.
Hu and the Source were now facing each other. With every beat at the core of its form, Hu would see the form reflected in the Source. A hushed hum would proceed forth from the Source and Hu would feel something new, that he hadn’t given it a name yet.
Amen, that is joy and happiness.
This is joy and happiness, amen.
This happened every day at the same time. This tradition has survived the ages and now we call it the Evening Service.
Thousands of stars grew large in the sky, expanded, and then splintered into a light shower.
Every creature around me has a name now.
Amen. Move through the garden and keep watch over it. Feed the creatures.
Till the land.
Care for the creatures.
The entire garden leapt up and bent into a little ball, into something that resembled limbs on Hu’s form, and rested in the Source. The Source moved Hu’s attention to the little ball.
You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat, of it you shall surely die.
The tree the Source spoke of glowed in pale blue light that surged through it.
What does die mean? The word and question caused his form to darken for a moment.
You will not know that I am here.
I will remember, amen.
Good. I will bring about your protector-helper. I see your longing.
The ball expanded until the garden was restored to its original form. Hu felt the Source move away from him. Hu saw a gaggle of silver-haired geese stroll by. They nodded. We see you.
There was darkness now in the skies, but there was a shift in his form. Hu felt its sinews and bones weakening, and its muscles deflating, like air leaving a lung.
Life, what is happening?
It’s fatigue. Worry not.
I will not, amen.
Hu fell beneath a tall oak tree and gasped. This was new, too. Hu was fatigued, so it slept, the earlier meeting spooling again and again in the darkness of his eyes. Hu felt that joy and happiness, staring straight into Life’s face.
I am safe. I am safe. I am safe.
An awesome, rolling waterfall spilled out of the heavens and encircled him. There was a pulling of the muscles around the tender, prickly organs on his face.
Those are lips.
It is a smile.
The waterfall crashed into his face. Hu cried out, as the icy water cooled the fire felt in his side. Hu looked and marvelled. That wasn’t there before, he wondered. A gaping hole, of turquoise, yellow, and red syrup, like he had seen slide down his favorite tree on the other side of the garden, but the hole was growing smaller and the intense heat was cooling. The water was summoned up back to the heavens and he was alone again.
Hu heard a cough. It wasn’t one from an animal he had named. The cough came from a form, something new. Hu turned and saw by a nearby thorn bush a dark, gravel brown-colored form like him. It had a smell and scent like Hu. What was that sound, this cough? Who is this form?
This is Chava. She is of you and you are of her. Chava means life, but look deeply into her and give her a name, for yourself.
Adamah, Adam, looked into Chava’s face. He saw water, of the same color and shade, in the eyes of the form. There was walking limbs, like fingers on Adamah’s form, of fire past her eyes. Adamah neared Chava, every step matching the sharpening of the gaze into Chava’s form. Adam saw the sinews and limbs hidden by the outer skin – bones, little passages where life was rushing past. Everything looked familiar.
Adamah stepped back and stretched out the hands towards Chava, with curled hands, the chest of the form made wide and free.
Hear, creation, Ish will speak.
“At last! My own has come along! This is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. I will call her Isha because she is of me, Ish.”
Ish extended the hand of the form and Ish put its hand into Ish’s. Ish pulled Ish up and they embraced. Ish felt the different warmth of Isha and it gave him joy and happiness. Ish didn’t have to face Isha like with the Source. The embrace was enough. They saw each other in the embrace.
Adamah. Tell her what I commanded you.
They turned, standing next to each other, to be brought into the presence of Life. The heavens and earth blinked, fawned, fell, collapsed, expanded, moaned, as the Source appeared as the eye of the sun, before them. Coils of little yellow hairs grew from the Source and touched Adamah and Chava just below their lips. They felt a whipping movement in their forms and something similar to the thunder they heard in the heavens, but now it was inside them.
italic: That is sound. And you shall create it, like the heavens do.
“buh-bah-bah-buh-bih-buh.. buhhhh… baaahhh.. hhhhhh… hiiii… iiiiii… isshhhhh”
“Ishaaaaaa… Isha, you and I may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil we shall not eat, for in the day that you eat, of it you shall surely die.”
“Die is, we will not know that Life is here.”
“I will remember.”
Be fruitful and multiply and grow in each other.
The Source drew away from Adamah and Chava, and turned the earth into the inside of their tongues, but cast in orange-red light. It was for a moment and it was as before.
They embraced. Their closeness was so snug and complete that they wanted to speak, so that only they two could hear.
italic: The word is love.
“This is love.”
“This is love.”
Love was found in their embrace.
They sat underneath the oak tree, touching lips, as the other created sound, and they could hear it. They said the word love over and over again, every time it was as fresh as the dew that fell on their heads, from the leaves of the tree. Adam was caught up, rapt in Chava, and Chava was immersed, both in embrace and being, in Adam.
Adam liked to pull Chava by her limbs and they walked with the other creation. They were in sound with a group of boisterous leopards, leaping around them. One leopard let out a new sound as it looked at Chava. “Eeee, eeee, eeee!”
“Eeee, eeee, eeee”
“Veee, veeee, veeee”
“Isha, take eeee and veee… eeee, eeeee, veee, veeee.. Eve!”
“Joy! Happiness! Eve!”
The leopard lept and wrapped itself around Adam. :Call her Eve, call her Eve:.
“Isha, you are Eve! Creation wants you to be called Eve.”
“Eve. I am Isha to you and Eve to creation.”
And then there was a symphony of animals, trees, and small creatures in the ground, calling out “Eve! Eve” as Adam and Eve walked by. Life moved in the garden and the cries became hush.
Adam and Eve stopped to feel Life pass next to them. “It is the evening.” And every evening, they stood to face the Source, the Source of Life.
It was the time to walk again, but Eve stopped Adam as he got up. “Let us do this.”
Eve pulled Adam down into an embrace. Eve grabbed the hand of Adam and placed it on the core of her form. Adam felt waves crash and saw flames come out from under a rock. “She, her, the words of Life.” Adam didn’t move the hand of the form and kept it on her. Adam took Eve’s hand and placed it on the hardness of the limbs of the form. It was like the limestone they slept on after a day of walking. “It feels like safety, a place of rest. He, him, the words of rest.” They were making sense of each other and the creation around them. And in creation, they found answers to themselves. “That’s a knee, Adam,” Eve said. “That’s your heart, Eve,” Adam replied. Adam was teaching Eve how to name what they ruled over.
There was a rustle in the thornbush. Adam knew the slithering creature by the grime on its scales. It was a snake, coated in rinds of green, blue, and gravel strokes. The snake was darker than Adam and Eve. Adam had named the snake after holding it to a cave wall, it wouldn’t sit still. Adam noticed something new on the snake, it had blotches of red wet soil around its mouth and teeth. He had never seen that before.
italic: Beware the snake, Place of Rest.
“I will do that, Life.”
Adam laid down on the ground and spread his body still. It fused with the ground and Eve rested on top on him, as the serpent eyed Eve. Eve counted the lines of black coal in the red soil, splashed around the snake’s mouth. “Eve, Eve, Eve, I saw you when they called you, Eve.”
“I rest on my place of rest.”
The snake hissed and growled as it took itself away with its tiny feet. “I will call you something else soon.” The snake was gone, but some red soil had fallen from its mouth.
“Ish, what is that grumble in us?”
“Fear. The Source told us to beware the snake.”
“And the soil?”
“It’s from the snake, so we will stay away from it.”
“I will listen.”
Eve curled like the racoons she had seen sleeping next to them, and slept on Adam. Adam slept, knowing that he had done what the Source had said he should do.
They woke up from sleep and found that some blue-nosed deer were lapping up the red soil. A badger brought water from the river and they washed their mouths in it.
“Our friends have kept us safe, Adam.”
“I want to see the river! Let’s go!”
They loved this particular path to the river because they saw the rabbits form bridges underneath them and their fur would make them joy and happiness. The river would hear them coming and it would hurl some of its water in the air. It would come down and keep them cool.
“Eve, Eve, Eve”
“Beware the snake, Isha.”
“Snake, I am walking with Eve.”
“I won’t disturb the Place of Rest on his walk. I just have some words for Eve.”
Adam laid down and swept himself underneath Eve’s feet. She wedged her toes into him and stood strong. His eyes feasted on the wonderful sky.
“The skies are you, Life.”
The snake stood on its tail to speak to Eve. “I heard Life speak to you about the tree you cannot eat.”
“We may not eat of that tree for we shall surely die.”
“Die? There is no die for us.”
Adam rubbed his thumbs into Eve’s ankles. Beware, Eve. He was speaking to her in a way the serpent wouldn’t hear him.
I will. I am rooted in you, Eve replied.
“Do you know more than the Source?”
“I know that there is Source, there is life. But there is no die.”
“Adam was right. You are more cunning than all creation.”
“Life told you that you will not know Life is here if you eat of the tree. Life lies to you!”
There was silence on the earth and in the heavens.
Adam, why can’t we hear our friends?
Eve, I don’t know.
Adam, Eve, beware. Adam, take her and leave.
“I do not know what lies is.”
Eve was shifting around in her stance and Adam was still, waiting for the voices of creation to be heard again.
Adam, take Eve and head to the river.
Adam came up to close around Eve like a flower bud. Eve stepped off Adam.
“What are these things the snake is saying?”
Eve, I will tell you.
I will listen.
Adam pulled Eve back into him and he closed around her, as they moved away from the snake.
“You will see and move like Life. You will not just have life in you, but you will give it.”
Focus on your rest, Isha.
Ish, we still can’t hear our friends. Has Life left us?
“Snake, are you there?”
Their friends started yelping and howling. The heavens were pouring out crimson syrup, the winds were like blades of grass turned into rocks. There was noise, unfamiliar sounds being created.
Eve pulled herself out of Adam and she walked back to find the snake.
“Isha, Isha, Isha, wait!”
The snake was angling towards Eve faster than Adam, brown soil being thrown up in the air, forming into Eve’s face.
“Eat of the tree and be Life itself!”
Eve stopped running. Adam stopped a while behind her. The snake saw them, fixed in the ground, and bared his teeth. It disappeared.
“Adam, what does this tree look like?”
“It is there.” Adam pointed to scraggly ruddish tree standing in the middle of a bed of red soil.
“That red soil, it looks like the soil on the snake. Right?”
Eve felt a draw of energy from her core. “Adam, what is that?”
“I will not go with you to the tree.”
“Why not? The soil is by the tree, the soil was on the snake, and the snake said we could be like Life.”
“We already are like Life. We see him and face him, when the sun in the sky is stopping from work.”
“Could there not be more?”
“Your sounds are different. I don’t like this.”
“That sound don’t is coming from you a lot.”
Adam felt Eve slip out of his bud.
“Eve, where are you going? Why are you doing this?”
“I must know what is there.”
Adam didn’t chase after her.
The deer ran from behind them and stood around the tree. “Friend, no!”
“What is no!”
“No, no, no, no!”
Eve charged towards them and they ran away, cowering by Adam’s limbs. There were sounds coming from the red soil, nothing she had heard before in Adam or from the Source. There was nothing like these sounds. “Your hand must touch us before you can near the fruit.”
All creation echoed the words of Adam. “No, Isha!”
Eve dunked her hands in the red soil and laid her hands on the tree. The branches bulged out white foam and the foam made the scraggly tree become green, luscious, and beaming. And she saw the fruit, a pink-colored pebble, smaller than her eye, with honey dripping from it and studded with prickles like the ones she had seen on hedgehogs. Eve sank her face into the fruit and she pushed it back into her with her hands. She embraced it deeper than she had ever embraced Adam. There was a sound like the sowing close of a tulip bulb. The beautiful tree had turned back into the scraggly form.
“The tree, where is the tree?” She had pits of the fruit all over her face and mouth, and the red soild had somehow covered her body. She ran back to Adam.
“Adam, Adam, Adam, Adam!”
He reached her before she could fall into his arms. “I am here, Isha.”
The red soil burned into his form and he could feel it more than he could feel Eve.
“You must taste this with me. I can’t hear our friends and I can’t hear the Source.”
“What is hear?”
“I don’t know.”
“You’re saying it now, too!”
“No, I’m not, Adam, please, get this soil off of me.”
“I don’t know how, it’s all over me now. The deer.”
The deer were sniffing around them, having brought the badgers. The badgers were carrying the water in pouches made by their tails.
“Friends, we can help you.”
This was a different embrace than the one of love.
“Ish, this soil can only be removed if you take of the fruit.”
“I will do what Life said to do.”
“But I am burning and I don’t know how to get rid of the red soil! There is love in our embrace!”
There is love in our embrace. She said it intimately to him, there is love in our embrace.
Adam let his tongue slither all around Eve’s mouth and he took the pits of the fruit into him.
They couldn’t hear the sounds coming from the deer, or the badgers, or all the other animals and small creatures that were throwing themselves around, trying to convince them to stop doing what they were doing. Adam and Eve’s tongues were all over each other, as the soil and fruit had turned into a mix of flavors they had never tasted before. They wouldn’t let go of each other and every lick made them discover a new bump and limb and flesh in each other. They couldn’t hear or feel the heavens talking to them, or the waters whispering to them. All they could hear now was themselves. When they finally stopped, the animals stared at them. They can’t hear us and we can’t hear them. They ran away.
Adam and Eve were lying in a heap, smeared in red soil, the fruit, the ground, and this new thing. It was coming from their bodies, a pungent water, it wouldn’t stop. Adam remembered the fatigue before he saw Eve, but this was different. He couldn’t stand up. Eve wouldn’t get up, either. “Life!”
Adam was frozen. How could Eve have heard his call to the Source?
“Adam, this sound is hurting my ears.”
She pointed to her ears and then touched his. “These things.”
“Eve, how could you hear my thoughts?”
“I can’t. I saw sound come from your mouth and I heard it.”
Eve now froze. She was aware of her body and she knew of its parts.
“Eve, stop shouting! I’m right here.”
Eve couldn’t call out to the Source, too. She had never tried on her own. Adam always did it for the both of them.
“Life!”, they both cried out.
“Life has left us. The Source has left us,” Adam whinced.
“Adam, I’m afraid, what is that shaking in my bones! Why is everything turning against us!”
“We have to hide! Come on!”
They ran to the oak tree, the only thing they knew well right now and hid behind the trunk.
The Source was moving through the garden and it was not good to him. Things had changed. Something had been broken and he knew it.
There was no response. This cannot be. How can Human not hear me?
All the Source heard was the sounds that he had created, all except one, the one from the Human.
This is the saddest moment I know, the moment creation doesn’t hear me.
“Eve, Life is here, Life is here.”
“But.. why did we hear it with our ears? And why is there blood out of them right now?”
“Wait, what’s blood?! And why does it smell so foul?!”
Adam and Eve were being battered by new smells, sensations, and thoughts, all at the same time, with no mercy. And they were being called after by the Source.
“Where are you, Adam! It is the evening. We are to face each other.”
“Life, I.. I heard your voice in the garden and I was afraid.”
Snake. That snake.
“Why is this happening to us?”
“That snake, Eve. That snake.”
“Not now – later!”
“We can’t face it like this, we’re covered in this blood thing and … I have never seen you like this.”
They both looked at each other, a growing terror taking over their sight, as they noticed their respective forms, in all its ordinaryness and queerness.
“Should I be seeing you like this?”
“You’re right, I don’t know, we can’t ignore the Source!”
Adam rushed to find some thickets to cover himself and threw some to Eve. They hid behind the tree where they had slept in each other, way before any of this inexplicable event had happened.
“Adam! Why were you afraid of me? How do you even know fear?”
Eve tugged at his arm and whispered,”Cover for me. Will you, Adam?”
“We got into this whole thing because of you! How am I supposed to explain this to the Source?”
She tugged again and now there were tears of hurried pain in his eyes. “Adam, you were just standing there, letting me talk to the snake -”
“You have some nerve-”
“How do you know fear, Adam!”
“Eve gave me the fruit of eat of. After we ate it… we just… felt it.”
“Felt it and thus understood it?”
They stared into the eternity of their actions.
“You disobeyed my direct instruction and ate of the fruit of the tree.”
“Yes, Life. We did.”
“You and Adam ate of the fruit of the tree… that I asked you …”
“We have to explain to him what happened, come on -”
“No, we can’t Eve, we’re naked -”
“Just care about me for a change, come on!”
Eve jumped out from behind the tree, grabbing Adam’s arm and shrieked, both from the blinding light that seared into her head and from the teeth that were eating into her body. “Adam, I can’t hear the Source talking to us, what is happening!” Adam had no time to answer or to clamor for her body for his own was also being thrown about like a ragdoll, in a torrent of fire and sizzling flesh and blood being juggled in the air, along with dirt, leaves, and bits of their compatriot animals.
Adam and Eve still managed to see, despite their eyes being ravaged by the torrential pain, and they could no longer see the Source. Their eyes had been stopped, but everything else – the animals, the trees, the water – remained.
“Snake! Snake! Where are you?”
A family of elks popped up their heads from within some nearby grass and looked in terror, and ran the other way.
“Adam… why did they do that? We didn’t hear …”
Adam could only hear his own sobs.
Adam and Eve laid there, in a heap of shock, tired bodies, and no animals to console or comfort them. They had their backs to each other, Eve kept company in a million new thoughts, swarming around her mind.
“Leave me alone -”
Light, familiar light, cracked through the skies. Their eyes rung and they turned to embrace each other, as if it was the only thing they could have done in that moment.
“I’m sorry, Eve!”
After the light, came the last words they ever heard with their eyes and minds, from the Source that now seemed on the other side of their memories:
Work the ground from which you were taken.
They heard a thud next to them. It was a few hides of their animal friends.
They covered themselves with the hides.
“This feels wrong.”
“The hides or covering ourselves?”
Adam turned to Eve,”What now?”
“I guess you have to get to work.”