Postcard #10, The Birth of Cain
"'Look, see! I have created man, like God,' she declared and the second world began."
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The Birth of Cain, Part 1
“Look, see! I have created man, like God,” she declared and the second world began.
The feminine cries of childbirth and the childlike cries of the infant’s first and friable breath converged into one strange and regal symphony as it echoed against the desertifying landscape. New life entered the world with a splash and a new world with new beliefs followed.
A land of food and sinuous streams and heaven’s undulating breath waving in the kissing canopies and banging lower-story branches that were really just swaying baskets of fruits and nuts and seeds and their birds and following bees became a decadence writ in blood. Eden had come to an end. The first breath hovered over Eden’s waters but now everything had changed. Everything was different.
The coded scripts of our very human lives split and double-stranded spirals of sugars known strangely, impersonally, as A, C, G, and T severed faithfully to form a future, impalpable, strangely disembodied. Genetics describe a fine nothingness operating the coarse everythingness and DNA’s sticky strings do a fine job animating the wet plunk of reproduction, the silent plop of gestation, and the volatile splash of birth.
The second world, the deserts outside of Eden, was our mythological beginning when genetic opportunity was its greatest and its simplest. Mankind in their haste to heighten themselves reduced the first world and its wonders into memory, mythology really, for what is memory but a place-infused mythology. We became gods when we stepped beyond and lost our humanity. And we become lost when we held on to it.
But we carried on, as we often do, and we kept walking and working and trying our best to cope with this new world, writ and wrought in blood but we made it our blood, homely and home enough. Birth’s bedlam was new to our species and its chaos reminded Chava, or Eve, of creation itself—that explosion of heat and energy and hearts made finite in the infinite gravity of love both won and lost and time both had and never had. That moment when that which already was but not already known erupted through the unknown but now the seen and she felt for the first time in a long time at home.
She had long lived and wandered in the desserts outside of Eden and long had her Creator’s words echoed through her mind.
“Multiply,” the heavens once thundered, and, holding her first-born firmly in her lap, she looked heavenward, absentmindedly, and saw nothing but its deep blue and cumulus white quietness, uncomforting stillness. She was alone. And she was lonely. But now less so.
Her memories arrived from the west, like a gale, then blew swiftly on. There was no warning; no patterned rationale that triggered them. Just dust and its tired dessert beating like pins against her tent. She spent her evenings, lately, standing in its entranceway, the need to run, to leave, to rebel against herself, to let go, to escape the desiccated, musky, but increasingly familiar space.