Saturday, April 14, 2012

"Man of Red Clay: A Novel of Adam" by Jonathan Hooper, Chapter 17

Chapter Twenty



They buried Adam. In accordance with his wishes, a pit was dug on a hill, half the distance between Mount Horeb and the desert, and his body placed within it. Seth, Enosh and Yered dug the pit, watched by the shepherds of the village, and Seth himself, once the last of the earth was piled on top of his father, made a circle of rocks to mark the grave. None but the three knew who was buried there.



The patriarch, in death, had seemed at peace, though his last words were bitter; perhaps he had, finally, found peace in the release from bodily pain.



Lemekh was nowhere to be found; Enosh, defeated in spirit, shaken deeper than any of them, followed Seth down the mountain slope, Yered, silent, melancholy, following behind.



The woman, Anna, met them in the village with food she and her sisters had made. "Lemekh has gone. Into the desert. Sometime during the morning, we guess. The shepherds do not know what to think."



Before they left, Seth himself disappeared, to climb Horeb alone. When he returned, Enosh, still slumped in despair, saw that his look was strangely calm.



"Where did you go?" Enosh asked.



"I climbed to the summit of the mountain."



"But I thought that you had decided not to go."



"I did decide. I had to receive God's will, in the end."



"And what is His will? That we suffer?"



"We will suffer. We are suffering; it is our lot to toil, to make a home from the wilderness. Don't despair because of your children, Enosh, and don't burn because of your impatience for God to act. Enough has been revealed to me. We are the chosen tribe, amongst all the others who are scattered throughout the lands. I need your strength. You, Enosh, are my favourite. Come back through the wilderness with me with this one promise: there is hope."



As they turned from that place, setting out towards the Jordan, through the sands, beyond the great limestone desert, Seth looked out one last time towards Horeb, and the place where his father was buried, and breathed a last word:



“Shalom.”





In memory of my father, Frederick J. Hooper

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