Chapter Thirty-Seven: Riverbanks

Editor’s Note: Jeremy the Fisherman passed away before I had a chance to know him, but my dad knew him. Drinking buddies. I should mention my dad was a reporter for the Vine Bulletin. Mom worked the fact-checking desk, and honestly, she was the one who taught me to look between the lines of verifiable truth. Anyway, most of Dad’s work tapes are gone, taped over or thrown away (“go to the library and read my archives” Dad says), but a few survived. This one is Jeremy the Fisherman, monologuing. “I asked him about his parents,” Dad claims. 

In the river there is a ceaseless flowing. The herons had gone away when Josiah received the Revelation of Vine but then herons came back. Blue and saucily unbothered. They were not like hawks, always circling. By the riverbanks grew witch hazel and chokecherry. Proof that occasional flooding was survivable. They would sit on the stump with wind flowing through their long hair. A single strand of hair is weak but hair braided together is strong. Wisdom their mother taught, wisdom she said was even older than Vine. What could be older than Vine? Not much was known. Not much was discussed

Minnows gathered by the rocks, barely beneath the water bugs on the river’s surface. This was the texture of their home, which they knew to be constantly changing. Nothing was static, even the Elders acknowledged that. All this ancient wisdom—the Bible was old, the Book of Vine was old, the wisdom their mother gave them was old. How could the Book of Vine be older than the Revelation of Vine? God’s Word exists outside of time, eternal and true. They could hear the words of the Elders without the Elders present. In the beginning, God made Adam and Eve. In the beginning of Vine, Josiah received the Revelation. The Elders incorporated the town. This land is consecrated. But there were people on the land before it was consecrated, their mother taught them that. God’s wisdom exists outside of time, but there was a before and after to Vine.

The minnows swam away. They realized they did not know exactly the river’s endpoint. Beyond the bald, beyond the heron’s rocky perch, beyond the borders where the outside world exists. In their wrists was blood from before and during. Their mother taught them that. Their father would be reading after work. Reading in his chair—a place for contemplating the mysteries of the Lord, like their stump by the chokecherry and witch hazel. Their father would be reading from the Book of Vine. And yet the river was ceaseless.

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