The artist’s mission must not be to produce an irrefutable solution to a problem, but to compel us to love life in all its countless and inexhaustible manifestations.

–Leo Tolstoy

Genesis, Chapter 9

Rainbow Covenant

Noah told the survivors:

“We have survived a terrible disaster. What will you do with this gift? Go back to your petty squabbles? Will you squander God’s gift to you with angry words for each other and violence in your heart? We cannot go back to the old ways. We need to create rules. Rules that we will follow to show our appreciation!

“The first rule shall be: Whoever sheds the blood of a human casts away their own blood in return. To kill each other, to take lives for punishment, and to make war will only plant the seeds of our own destruction.”

As the people listened to Noah’s words, a rainbow spread across the sky. Noah’s children pointed to the rainbow and exclaimed, “God blesses Mother’s words! Truth has been spoken this day!”

Noah thanked God, but the people began to argue over whether the rainbow was God’s beauty, or how the flood was God’s wrath, or perhaps God had not been involved at all.

The Navigator Lost

The land was bountiful and filled with beauty, but Noah pulled away from the community. The disagreements and bickering and fights that returned weighted her down with sorrow. She retired to growing grains and grapes and gave up on trying to lead them.

The people’s art changed. They began to curse harsh weather that killed crops, and praise good weather that made them bountiful. They began to compete in their art, promising answers and attracting their own followers. They bickered over whose art celebrated life and love more, and which captured God’s beauty the best. They blamed the art of others for inventing or exaggerating problems that were born in human hearts.

As the years pressed on, Noah’s sorrow was not enough. Had God really saved the world for these people? They were no better that those who died. They still warmed hate in their hearts. What point could there have been in all that death?

She fermented the grapes into wine, and drank more as the years passed to numb the pain. One evening, her son, Ham, saw found her passed out naked in front of her camp. He ran to his brothers, fear gripping his heart. “Mother has passed out. We have to do something!”

Shem and Japheth saw no reason to nurture their young brother’s fear. “She has only been drinking,” Shem said to Ham. “Show more respect and stop fretting about every little thing.

In the morning, Ham asked his mother how she was feeling. She replied: “Why do you ask?” Her head hurt and body ached, but she did not recall most of the last evening. Ham explained finding her, getting his brothers, and his concern.

Noah raged: “You should have looked the other way! What business is it of yours how much I drink or where I sleep? You are my child, not the other way around! Go away!” She swung at him and almost fell over because Ham leapt out of the way and her head was unsteady.

Noah Drowns

Noah drowned her self-recrimination along with her omni-compassion and self-control. Perhaps the only way to keep safe from the pettiness of others was to hold land. She claimed land for her own, and her families, even when it was bare of food in the winter. She kept a wide border from as many problems as she could.

Soon after her body stopped wandering, her mind stopped wandering. Noah embraced the illusion that possession would bring her freedom. Her eldest son inherited this completely, as so many others would across generations.

She never looked upon Ham with kind eyes again. He reminded her of the shame she tried to drown under a flood of wine. When she laid on her death bed, she turned from forgiveness and did not look at Ham at all.

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