Sunday, July 20, 2008

WALKING BUDDIES: Part 4 - Feminine Footfalls - July 19, 2008

And Noah and his [family] entered
the ark to escape the waters of the flood.
Genesis 7:7

I’m enough of a feminist* that it rankles me how females are noticeably absent from the Bible. In the story of the flood, Noah and each of his sons are mentioned by name; Noah’s wife and daughters-in-law are each referred to as “so-and-so’s wife.” Even the female animals get equal billing with their male counterparts (“…bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female.” Genesis 6:19).

“It takes two,” and without Eve, Adam was just a guy with a set of intact ribs. So, as a Christian feminist, it behooves me to give voice to the women who played an equal part in repopulating the earth after the flood. Men weren’t the only ones walkin’ with God inside that stinky ark. Just for fun, I will assign some names: Natalie (husband, Noah), Sheila (husband, Shem), Heidi (husband, Ham), and Jennifer (husband, Japheth).

Natalie, the writer in the family, kept a journal, which was revealed to me while I was meditating in my hammock swing. Nat’s log is quite lengthy, but these few excerpts provide an inside peek at life in ark.

Minus 7 days, and counting: Well, just as Noah said, there’s a steady flow of animals meandering our way. I thought Noah was daft when he told me that God prophesied, “If you build it, they will come.” Call me a skeptic, but I can’t imagine how we’ll squeeze all those critters into this boat. And there’s no way those huge hippo hips will fit through the doorway.

Minus 3 days: Noah is an excellent architect and carpenter, but he’s inept at organizing this menagerie. So I’ve stepped in. I assigned Sheila and Shem to the third deck to manage the aviary. There’s not much head room up there, so the ostriches will have to bunk with the giraffes and camels. Heidi and Ham volunteered for the lower deck, our “sea on the sea” for the sea creatures. And Jenny and Japh will manage the mammals on the main deck. Noah and I don’t sleep too well, so we’re supervising the night owls, critters like owls, bats, tree frogs and those cute little masked creatures with the ringed tails.

Minus 1 day: Frightened by the ominous sky and thunder, our friends, family, and neighbors are pleading with Noah to let them on the ark. We’ve known them all our lives. How can he turn them away? My heart is breaking. The animals still waiting to board are getting restless—frantic, really. The chaos and cacophony are turning me inside out. Lord, help us all!

February 17th* Lockdown: It’s raining cats and dogs! This morning, a jumpy giraffe jostled me aside in its hurry to enter the ark. Slipping on the wet deck, I banged my elbow on the rough hewn door jam. It is dark as pitch in here! I labor to breathe in this heavy air, laced with Eau de Dung (with just a hint of hay, sweat and rain). Oh, Lord! I just discovered I’m claustrophobic. Don’t shut the door! Let me out of h-e-r-e.

Day 3: I just can’t stop thinking about all my family and friends. The sky is so noisy and sounds angry. Is that the voice of God? I hate being cooped up in this, this…dark, dank, disgusting, oversized dingy. Yet, I have a feeling that even this is better than whatever is going on outside. I shudder to think about it.

Day 31: My head is pounding and I just can’t focus with all this lowing, barking, screeching (oh, that awful screeching!), roaring, and growling. And my boys are bickering. Grown men, fighting. Who cares whose turn it is—just DO IT, for Adams’s sake.

Day 40: An eerie sound woke me with a start from a sound sleep. Silence? The drill and drone of rain drops on the roof and deck has stopped. It’s funny, after so many days I no longer noticed the rain—until it stopped.

To be continued…

* Poetic license: Bible states, “seventeenth day of the second month”

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