As a child I know the winters must have been milder, as it was never too cold to have my parents take is to Sheridan Park where my father would drag the old wooden toboggan up the chute adjacent to the stairs as we ran ahead, and smile as we hurtled down seeing how far we could go across the snow packed runway.
After an hour, when our hands were blue, the mitten clips long since defeated, he would once again smile as we drove to Louie’s for a foot long and a couple of orders of curly fries.
I’m thinking the weather changed right about the time my parents packed off to Florida, as if God had given them some Noah-like warning that winters would soon get ugly, or maybe He was just trying to help Detroit, since my step- siblings had to have certain cars, while I struggled through winter in the north in my leaky, rusting Opel.
So when Noah finally docks the ark on Mt. Ararat, or wherever, how does he decide which animals get off first? And for that matter, the earth having been flooded for weeks, just what are they supposed to eat on new land? For the vegetarians it must have been very slim pickings, and who wants a badly waterlogged salad anyway? And with two of each only, what did the carnivores actually eat? If you stop and think about this long enough you are left to wonder just how many species were sacrificed to God’s little tamper tantrum, and let’s not mention how three sons and mom and dad, the sole survivors managed to repopulate the world.
His is six and deeply confused, and asks questions to end that state. He wants to know if Adam and Eve had two sons, and one killed the other, where did all of the people come from? Ask your father seems and easy answer, but one he cannot accept, too easy for a mind that needs timely response. I stumble around, try to deflect, and finally admit I don’t know but that some stories cannot be taken literally. He knows what that word means, and it is a sufficient explanation for now. In a week we’ll have the conversation once again, this time not Adam, not Eve, but Shem, Ham and Japheth, and how the three sons of Noah repopulated the entire planet, and I will once again admit to my sad lack of knowledge, and silently curse the Religious School for creating the abyss into which my grandson is all to pleased to lead me.
None of us can remember what was here before. We can search for clues, develop elaborate surmises and find telling relics from which we can conclude this or that, with a certitude the gods would surely mock. But our field of vision is restricted, our memories equally so, and we are left with one certainty, supposition. And that will be true at least until the moment we realize that we too are antediluvian and we hear the sound of the approaching flood.