Sunday, November 13, 2011

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner... or Not—Episode 2

(based on Genesis 7—a story of creation)

Meanwhile, Naomi, Noah's better half, took her three daughters-in-law around the side of the ark. Sadly, through the years as these stories have made their way down to us, many of the women in them lost their names and their contributions. That's an injustice that has happened all too often. We should lament that. We should also give them new ones.

"Quickly," said Naomi, "help me with these feathers."

"They are huge," Ital gasped.

"Where did you find them?" Nitzan queried.

"High in the hills trekking with my mother," Naomi replied, "the last time I saw her before she died." Each daughter's mind went to her own parents.

Then Varda asked, "What are we going to do with the feathers?"

"Can you see how each one looks like a giant eye? We're going to put two atop each post of the fence I had Noah build fanning out from opposite sides of the gangplank and hope that it drives the animals toward the ramp."

"Oh, like a funnel," Ital caught on.

"Exactly!" Naomi nodded, handing out the feathers.

"The bigger animals could easily topple the fence but the big eyes of creatures that appear to be larger and headed toward them may be enough to make them change direction," Varda added. "Ingenious!"

"The truth is," Naomi postulated, "there is no possible way we could wrangle all these animals by ourselves without a little divine intervention."

"Nonetheless, the funneling fence and giant eyes are really good ideas," offered Nitzan.

"Okay. Each of us takes a different post. I started drilling holes in the tops of some of them the other day to make it easy to just drop the stem of a feather down into it. Those posts to which I didn't get can have the feathers strapped to them with these strips of leather. Ital and I will take this side. Nitzan and Varda, the other. Start with the furthest post, and work you way in, every other one. Then fill in the gaps working your way back out. Save the last two feathers for yourself."

With that, the women set about their work. The rise and fall of the landscape made it hard to judge just how close the animals were, but the intensifying rumble felt in the ground was enough to keep the women's adrenaline climbing. As they got down to their last two feathers, Naomi could see the first animals cresting the closest hill stampeding toward them. They were coming hard--but not quite as hard as one might expect.

Naomi then demonstrated why she wanted the women to save the last to feathers for themselves. She ran out about 40 yards extending the V-shape created by her fence. Having done so, the arms of the "V" were now a little wider than the wall of animals closing in on them. Now, taking a feather in each hand, Naomi began to wave them warding off any animals inclined to come her direction. The other ladies picked up on what Naomi was doing and quickly followed suit. Ital split the distance between Naomi and the last fence post and started flapping her arms about with such furry Naomi mused it was a wonder she didn't take off flying.

Sure enough the battalion of beasts which had been spreading as they marched began contracting as planned. The women smiled and flapped harder. But something else unexpected began to happen as well. As the herd thickened in the middle, it began to slow. And it slowed. And slowed. And slowed until it came to a meandering halt. The entire crash of untamed creatures began milling about within the half corral of Naomi's "V" like a herd of dispassionate cows.

"My, I wasn't expecting that," Naomi panted as she and her daughters stagger into a huddle at the foot of the gangplank.

It was then that Noah and Ham came into the light of the doorway shading their eyes looking down the ramp somewhat perplexed.

"You didn't think the animals were just going to march themselves aboard, did you?" Varda teased her husband and father-in-law. "Get on down hear and let's show them their accommodations."

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