A Search For Things To Extol. 

by Jesse Inman

Part I

Early in the morning the God moved towards the sycamore tree and the clearing where the man and woman lay. He was whistling cold and strong, and the little rabbits ran from him and kicked up fallen leaves and rustled the ferns in the clearing.

The man awoke to these rabbits dashing past and he knew the God was coming. He rose and stoked the fire from a cinder to a small blaze and heated water. He was just bringing out the little bag of coffee beans from the canvas bag, when the woman stirred. She opened her eyes up to the sky and the faint twilight, and felt the warmth of the babe snuggled against her body. Then she felt the whistling through the trees and saw the man near the fire.  

He turned and met her eyes with his. She rose and came to the fire with the baby still against her breast, and the man and the woman looked out into the trees and hills where the God would come from. He poured the water through the beans he had ground and they passed the cup back and forth between them. The man placed his hand on the head of the child and stroked the soft black hair, but the child slept still. 

Then a buck broke through the front of the clearing, galloping from the direction of the God, scrambled through the long ferns on the western edge, and disappeared just as quick into the thick trees on the other side.  

The sky became an almost indigo blue, and the stars, almost hidden before by the hint of the rising Sun, shone with a newfound strength. 

The man saw the stars grow in power, and he looked into the woman’s eyes again.

“You and the boy could go into the thick trees.” He said.  

The woman looked back and touched the child’s head as well and said to the man,

“We are not the deer or the boar. The clearing is ours and you are ours. There is no hiding.”  

And the man grasped her hand and looked out again to the trees and hills where the whistle was growing. 

Then all was bright and loud and the God came past the sycamore. The child slept and the man and the woman sat with open eyes and the God clanged and shone from the front of the clearing to the back. 

The stars grew faint and the sun rose slowly hour-by-hour over the forest. No man lived in the clearing.  

The buck had run far off now and his coat was flecked with sweat. Here and there leaves had been stripped from the branches he dashed through, and had stuck to his haunches. He and his like and the God were alone in the forest.

Part II

There was a God who made a stone and the stone was beautiful.

And on the stone he laid a man and the man went back and forth from one side to the other and saw the whole stone and said “how am I here on this rock?”

And then the God laid a woman on the stone. The woman sat up and the man stopped his moving and did not ask the question, but he and the woman sat on the side of the rock and talked of all the great grand things that took place in front of them on the stone.

Thumbnail image by Rebekah Averett.