We continued strolling through the field of golden yield, unconcealed to the high sun above, with distant clouds of rain for which so many had appealed. Hand in hand; heart to heart. Healed. No demand.
“There is so much, so very much to see and touch of such amazing beauty,” barely above whisper, not in lofty tone, but softly I spoke. “How is it that I so easily choke on lies, blinded by smoke of deceit, lulled by stroke of false compassion…?
Kheba pulled out some flat bread. “Come. Eat. You burn with hunger, which causes your heart and mind to churn; to churn too much. This bread will keep you fed well enough till rings the dinner bell; after all, I can’t have you dead now!” She smiled impishly like a child, then laughed, and love lunged wild. Down to the ground with happy sound. Kheba cropped off bits to pop into my open mouth. More was said unspoken than words could ever express as she pressed me close.
“Man and woman; child, meek and mild… Wheat and the bleat of sheep; plants and earthen ants, fruits and herbal roots; sparrows and farrows; sharks and larks and bark of trees and humming bees… Yes, so much to see,” she practically sang while holding me. “And so much more in store of Life, t’would be a lifetime chore to name even some of the all, but then we’d come back again to the same: Life and her midwife, Love, who works the birth of Love and Truth and Mirth.”
I laid my head to rest upon nourishing breast, now no longer hunger nor thirst, having been so generously nursed. “Ah, and there are sprits and dæmons and devilish mites; Watchers and witches and hell-poisoned bitches; ghouls that run through the sea in schools, waiting in bays for unsuspecting preys … and there are gods and demi-gods, who trod this sod, as well. And there are the wraith and jinn, who lack good faith — tricksters who’d rather play than pay the price to really live — and the halls of Valhalla and the heavens leavened with graceful, angel songs, where only good belongs.”
Suddenly, or so it seemed, the ruddy face of a boy beamed down on us, his head crowned with full and flowing hair, though chest still bare. “Ah! Nuh! Did you mean to give us a scare?” Kheba asked as boy basked in the sunlight. “Anyway, did you flee boldly to the sea as you were told?”
“Yes, of course, my glorious Kheba,” his smile broad as he trod a bit closer. “And I couldn’t scare you no matter how well I fare at soft steps among wheat and tares.” She and I stood up, then, presumably to begin our trek back into Uruk.
“This is Nuh, who flew into the waters at the coming of the Watchers; son of Lemek, son of Metuşelah, son of Henokh,” she introduced the boy amid the scenic field of gold — and should I have told her I wanted to stay, that the ruins would be my dismay … but why say what Kheba already knew — and the breeze blew, clouds promising new rain moving in to begin refreshing shower to renew, yes, but also to wash away at least some stains of such recent, bloody pain.
“And quite the lad, who’s already tried his hand in crafting fairish boat, still afloat; one Nuh guides with skill,” Kheba was obviously proud of the dark, stout lad, which made me all the more glad. Young Nuh filled her with joy. “And one day ship-builder, eh!”
“The best in Uruk!” Nuh puffed out his chest, and Kheba slapped his bottom in jest as we all chortled. “The best of any mortal,” the boy added while we stepped through the enormous East Gate portal. “From the finest of all wood and bark, the finest ark!”
“And I’ll warrant that’s more than guessing; you have the blessing of Dyēus,” Kheba encouraged. “So … someday the ark!”
Someday the ark?
Henokh — In the Hebrew scriptures (Old Testament), one of the ancient patriarchs, more commonly known in the English as “Enoch,” of whom is it said in the fifth chapter of the Book of Genesis, that he “walked with God: and he was no more; for God took him;” father of Metuşelah, grandfather of Lemek, or Lamech; name may mean “initiated,” but more likely, “dedicated,” which coalesces well with the Genesis story, particularly the above mentioned claim, as well as some other (apocryphal) stories.
Nuh — Or Noah, great-grandson of Henokh, of biblical-Flood legend; possibly of Babylonian and/or Assyrian derivation meaning, “rest, comfort, peace.”
Note: First picture/photo by Dave Reede; second, “Ruins of an Ancient City,” by John Martin