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Short Story: Another Genesis
By Jenean McBrearty
Adam was born in a Poplar tree. When his limbs grew long, he asked the Wind what it was like to move as freely as the birds . "Let me rustle the leaves of your branches, and breeze through your boughs – snap a twig and let it fall to the ground," the Wind replied. "But you will never see the sea or rush down a canyon or hear your own echo for you must stay where you are." Adam didn't know the Wind needed him to make its music.
By December dead leaves and twisted twigs lay on the ground. The tree was smaller, weaker now. Adam shook his remaining branches until they also fell to the ground. With the two that remained, he pried off his bark and ripped his roots from the soil, then sped off alone, his feet trusting the earth. He was free.
He ran a mile, then two. At the top of the hill, he rested on a rock and looked back at the Poplar grove. He was naked and cold and alone, and the Wind that had seemed so obliging now made his teeth. He tried hiding in foliage to insulate himself. He tried hiding in a hole. He searched about for water, and though the sun shone it no longer nourished him. Finally, he took cover in the park. He cut down his friends, shaved their skins, and hammered them into a shelter. He stole fur from the rabbits, nuts from the squirrels, and ate grass, drank from the spring, and called out to the trees every morning. "Do any of you remember me? Can none of you speak?" But no voice answered.
Before long, he stopped asking questions. He simply toiled every day, his face looking at the ground as he scavenged and dug and chased and ate things that bled. When he was exhausted, hungry, and lonely, he would say to himself, "Today I will rest. Today I will go into that empty space where I once lived, and tell the trees what it is like to be a man — I will lift my eyes to clouds that once comforted me and be silent, and listen. Perhaps, one day they will speak to me." But no matter how many times he spoke, begged, cajoled, threatened, laughed or cried out "Forgive me!", the trees never said a word.
Threescore and ten years later he went into the grove from whence he'd come, sat down in the middle, and wadded himself up so that his knees hid his face and his arms enveloped his shins. He yearned to run, but, as when he was a tree, he couldn't. His legs were thin, sapless, and could no longer carry him; his arms were reeds. I will return to being a tree, he told himself. But instead, he became a stone moved about by the Rain, the Wind, and the movement of Earthquakes. Having neither roots nor moss, he traveled widely and never prayed again.
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