Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Exodus

Chapter 1. Now, in the hill country of eastern British Columbia there was a cattle ranch. At the top of one of those hills over looking the grazing fields, laying in the midst of tall yellow wild grass, the Arch Angel Gabriel smoked a wood pipe that curled at the stem. 2 The chill of evening was approaching and he watched the ranch hands below hosing the mud off their tractors and putting the horses in their stables for the night. He could see in the valley below the cattle barn, the black smiths shop, the short bridge built over the small icy stream that wound through the fields and turned the mill wheel in the summer. In the middle of the workshops, with smoke rising from the chimney, fenced in by alder logs, were the kitchen windows aglow against the dusk. 3 The smell of fried eggs and bacon was on the air and caused Gabriel’s mouth to water. He licked his dusty lips and tasted the vanilla of his pipe tobacco.

4 The sound of gravel under leather boots approached from behind Gabriel before Adam collapsed in a dust heap. 5 Adam struck a match on the heel of his boot and lit a hand rolled cigarette, sighing musically a lung full of blue smoke--an incense offering to the Lord. He nodded towards Gabriel. 6 Howdy.

7 That day, like all the days stretching back out of memory, Adam had worked his guts out in his father’s fields: watering and feeding the cattle, digging holes for fence posts, rounding up the calves from atop a horse, making sure the equipment and the animals were in working order. 8He wasn’t tired. He was pleasurably exhausted, hungry for supper.

Chapter 2. Gabriel, the Arch Angel and Adam, the son of a rancher sat in the utter silence of the country, talking not with words but fire and smoke from under cowboy hats. 2 From his breast pocked, Gabriel took a flask. It was a handsome flask engraved with gold and inlaid with an ivory emblem of the Canadian flag waving. 3 There was a flash of just pride in his eyes as he passed the flask to Adam. “Whisky,” he offered. Adam took the flask in his hands and drank from it. 4 “Strength,” said Adam passing the flask back to Gabriel. Gabriel took a shot and winced. “Strength,” he echoed. The crickets chirped and coyotes howled in unseen places. 5 “Courage,” tipping the flask to his mouth. “Courage,” Gabriel agreed. A cry of geese rushed over head, a silhouette in V formation. 6 “Fortitude,” said Adam. “Fortitude,” Gabriel said. 7 “God-damn, I say let’s eat.”

8 Adam and Gabriel leapt up off the ground, tugged at their coats and hats and started towards the glowing windows floating in the blackness of the valley.

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