Another excerpt from the novel…it’s rough still…
By the time the Governors came to power the western part of the world had already moved away from formal “religions.” Even casual nature worship was seen as backward and strange. The Governors told the people of the world how to heal the land and the air and the seas with pure science. They maintained that it was a distraction from being caring to one’s neighbor when we throw aside science in favor of “flawed thinking.” They pointed to the histories we studied and the condition of the planet. It was not hard for everyone to agree on this, Gaia said. She told us that there were some who kept the practices still in private, some who hid away and still prayed to their Gods but that they kept it hidden.
In Gaia’s youth so much abuse was still coming to the surface that even the established faith practices were suspect. Clergy people were not allowed to touch anyone in their congregation; No handshakes, no blessings, no pat on the back or laying on of hands for any reason at all. The abuse cases were so strong and so frequent when Gaia was small that she said her father would not allow her mother to take her to a church of any kind. Gaia said that those were dark times but that her mother would foretell of a time when things would be even worse.
When the “poisoning” began those who were faithful still would say it was a judgement on those who committed the abuses but then it began to happen to the faithful as well and to the scientists and to the doctors and no one whispered about God anymore. The Governors diagnosed the disease, the Governors offered the cure and it was more difficult than a pill or a shot, it was breaking and tearing flesh from flesh. It was pulling people from everything they knew and everyone they loved but it saved us all. Gaia says every story we hear is more than one story. She tells us that every story is a diamond, brilliant and faceted, mysterious, reflective and finding its beginnings deep in the earth, in the coal we used to burn for fuel before the Fall. Gaia says that we need to always be listening to the story being told and to the stories within it, that are not being told, unspoken and brilliant, mysterious and reflected in us all. She tells us that the story of us all is written in our flesh and restoration will only come when we discover it again.
Gaia ran her hands over the book. The cover was water stained, blood stained and battered. She heard the creaking of the binding as she opened it and tested the pages. They were still strong, still fully engaged under the pressures of time and weather and movement. The handwriting in the journal was cramped but readable. She squinted at the scrawl as she moved to a stiff back chair near the window.
Gaia pulled a sweater from the chair and wrapped it around her threadbare collared shirt. She took care to straighten the collar, to tuck in the shirt and button the cardigan. She ran her hands down the front, smoothing it, adjusting the long cuffed sleeves under the woolen sweater. When this was complete she sat down in the stiff chair, lit a candle on the low coffee table before her and began to breathe in a calm and directed way. She placed the book in lap and rested her hands, palm up, on either side. After a moment tears rolled from her eyes. She let them fall, rolling down her face and neck. Gaia brought her hands to her face, feeling the moisture, rubbing her eyes and then drying the tears that had escaped. She exhaled loudly. “Ah, well…it will not be long” then she laughed into the empty room. The radiator began to rattle and whistle next to her and she patted it carefully. “Well done, good and faithful heater.”
It would only be a few days before Gaia would be summoned. She knew that it was coming. She had felt the change in the wind and the season. She had felt it coming deep in her bones for quite a while but had not wanted to mention it to Abbi. She knew that Abbi would fall into worry instinctively if she knew and Gaia had worked too hard to train her to have her panic in the crucial moment. Gaia herself only knew that Abbi was the one sent to her. Gaia was not even certain that her training of Abbi was adequate. She prayed every morning that she had imparted everything necessary to bring about the Revelation but she was careful to release that immediately. Hope for the future of her world had to center on that which was outside of her reach, she thought. Gaia could choose “action” when her hands were close enough to grasp it. This was the plan all along; to wait, to hope, to do the work closest to her hands and to listen. Gaia had been listening most of her life, noticing things, watching the light. The world had shifted away from everything she knew as a child, almost overnight. Her only response to it was to become a Watcher. It was far easier to forgive, to love and to wait in this way.