I had to start the book with Adam, since he is the first human mentioned in the Bible. As with all the characters, I tried to zoom in on one of the moments of greatest change in his life. I found him at the time of the expulsion from the Garden of Eden.
As readers have pointed out to me, this is perhaps more the Snake’s story than Adam’s. I came to view the Snake, unlike the official story, as Adam’s close friend. And as when, upon eating the fruit, Adam was cursed (or blessed?) with the knowledge of good and evil, the Snake was blessed (or cursed?) with the knowledge of what the future would bring. And since Adam only creates language at the end of the story, their communication had to be telepathic. With the image of the Snake and Adam standing arm in arm, silently communicating, and watching the garden disappear from around them, the story came into focus.
In the original draft, as first posted, Adam began naming the animals once the garden was gone. My friend and mentor, Father Richard Mapplebeckpalmer, however, reminded me that the Bible placed the naming before they were expelled. So I shifted things slightly, positioning the naming of the animals as a memory of the time within the garden, and the fuller development of language in the later time, as Adam and Eve would need to communicate.
Eve isn’t entirely shortchanged here, by the way. She does have her say, from within that same moment, as the first voice that Elisheva ever channeled. Her narrative within the epilogue to the book balances Adam’s story, which is the first of the stories included in their historical order here.
Another link between the stories: “drorit,” the name of the tiny bird that Adam named along with the lion and the lamb, becomes the name of a key character in the tale of Ezekiel, who turns out to have an even greater impact on Elisheva.
This story presents the first of many characters in the book who are angry at God. Yet, when left alone, Adam can only fall back on God’s example, building language in the way that he understands that God did.
Have you, if you believe in God, ever found yourself reaching out to him, even when angry at what he has apparently done? Have you who do not believe in God ever found yourselves reaching out or talking back to him, or talking as if he exists, even if you do not believe that he is there?