The Last People on Earth – The Gentle People

Woods 2015 022

        

XXXVII

It was official now, the language of the New Earth would be French. As the people of the village sat around the kitchen table, they were relieved that the 2 hour discussion was over.  Each of them felt good about it, including Jeremiah, even though the only French word he knew was “merci”. Well that wasn’t entirely true, Miriam had taught him a few words, but that cannot be discussed here.

As Jeremiah served everyone pound cake with blueberries, he privately worried about English becoming extinct. But the sounds of French, were so much more beautiful, and he knew it was the right decision to make. Jennifer had taken four years of French, and Cathy had learned some of the language from her mother. The Inuit, and Roger and Monique were fluent in it, so it was only Jeremiah that needed to start from the beginning. He was even willing to put his lessons in Amharic on hold. Could he learn two languages at once?

The crisp fall days were shorter now. The hills of Pennsylvania were alive with fall colors. After filling 6 freezers full of food, and canning more than three hundred jars of fruits and vegetables, the village and people were beginning to slow down, ready for the promise of rest. Firewood was collected though, just in case the electricity went out. Anuniaq and Jeremiah were busy loading the mangled pickup truck several times a day, with all the loose wood they could find. According to satellite images, several large cities had gone dark, as power grids began to fail. The cities included New York, Boston, and Philadelphia.

Something good was taking place within Cathy. She was drawn to Anhah and they would often spend hours together, walking, warming themselves by the fire, and speaking in French (Cathy was trying at least). Anhah treated her as a daughter, and loved teaching Cathy about herbs, and traditional medicine.

And Cathy was beginning to notice Anuniaq. She had never met a more gentle man. She felt safe around him, and even though he was quiet, she was beginning to know him as a source of strength and gentleness. Could a man be strong and gentle at the same time? Anuniaq was. She was not in love, but she was considering it for the first time, in a very long time.

             

Writing and Image © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree

Peace and blessings to everyone.

“If you love nature, you will love people.”

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The Last People on Earth – Harvest

Maine and More 082

XXXVI

It was harvest time. Not only did Anhah improve, after taking the medicine she needed, but in only a few days, she was up and moving around again. Jeremiah kept a close eye on her, taking an EKG every day, and taking her blood pressure on a regular basis. There was still a wonderful sparkle in the old woman’s eyes.

A week after their arrival, Anhah, and Anuniaq moved into the farm next door. It had been too crowded in the house, and even though no one said anything, they were all relieved. Yet the Inuit established a tradition very quickly, of coming to breakfast every morning. In the evening they came for dinner, and there was a wonderful sense of community that was building. Jeremiah loved cooking for everyone. And Jennifer began cooking as well. One night she blessed everyone by cooking her mother’s recipe of orange chicken. They couldn’t believe how wonderful it was.

The new village was busy after Anhah’s recovery. This would be the only year they would be able to collect the harvest from other people’s farms. They collected all of the fruits and vegetables they could get their hands on, from the surrounding area. Most of it was packaged and frozen, but some of it had to be processed, cooked and sealed in glass jars. The process was called, “canning”.

The lab building was converted into the village processing plant. One day when everyone, even Anhah was busy working with sterilizing jars, or filling them with apples and pears, Jennifer asked Jeremiah and Miriam, “I’ve been thinking….would you mind, if the baby and I moved into the room upstairs?” She began to giggle, realizing it was where the two of them went to hide…..when they……well when they wanted to be alone. Jeremiah and Miriam just looked at each other.  “We’ll let you know Jennifer….” Privately they loved their little hideaway.

      

Writing and Image © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree

Peace and blessings to everyone.

“If you love nature, you will love people.”

The Last People XXXIV – Traditions

Canada and More 224

As they pulled into the lane of their farm, Jeremiah got out to open the two sets of gates, when Miriam’s phone buzzed with a message. Since everyone that she knew well was in the van, it had to be Roger in France, or…..it was…..and it was from Anuniaq, in Northern Quebec! She began reading Anuniaq’s message in French, while Jeremiah was finishing the second gate. She became so excited, she yelled out the window, “Jeremiah come quick!”

When he leaned in to the open window of the van, Miriam explained, “Anuniaq is coming to the farm, and he is bringing someone with him!” “You mean they’re coming here??”, Jeremiah was astonished. Miriam said yes and Jeremiah asked, “Won’t they get stuck in the snow?” “If they don’t get stuck in the snow coming down here – what about on the way back?” Miriam had already dismissed his question, and said, “He won’t get stuck Jeremiah, because he is driving a commercial snow plow!”

It was three days later when they heard the roar of a large diesel coming down Stevenson Lane. They had a habit of keeping a few windows open, to take in the crisp fall air, but only during the day. The diesel was sounding like the 18 wheelers they used to hear so often.

It was a Friday and they were all preparing for the Sabbath meal. Jennifer loved these times, and was hoping Miriam would teach her the prayers someday soon. She loved the language and the tradition, and was dreaming of doing the same, whenever she had her own place again. She was beginning to think of having a family, maybe even more than baby Jacob, and herself. She believed now that her boyfriend Jacob would have wanted that for her. She admired the candle holders, as she placed them on the table, and placed the candles in each one.

Miriam was hoping that Jeremiah would pull out of the slump he was in. He had been sulking ever since he heard the news about some of the Inuit coming, but he wouldn’t tell her what it was about. Privately, he was worried about being behind schedule for getting ready for winter. The Kentucky trip had taken up several days, even though it was needed, and now he was certain the visitors from Quebec would take up even more of their time. And besides all that, the house was too crowded!

His mood changed dramatically when he saw Anuniaq get out of the huge snow plow, and then help the passenger down from the cab of the truck. They all rushed out of the house to meet them. Anuniaq spoke French mostly to Miriam, after his initial shock at how tall she was. He was about 30 years old, with a strong, quiet looking face. He introduced his passenger as Anhah. She was a short, older woman with long, flowing, silver-gray hair. Her face showed the wrinkles of having survived many rough years, and yet the all joys, and cultural strength of the Inuit. Her eyes sparkled with life. Jeremiah noticed immediately that these two were filled with peace, and they were gentle spirits.

As they all sat around the Sabbath dinner table, Miriam covered her head and began chanting the prayers so familiar to the Pennsylvania survivors. She was singing as she lit the candles, and the words in Amharic were welcoming the Sabbath. Jeremiah joined in for some it and Jennifer too, when she remembered the words. Cathy and Cory were smiling ear to ear, loving the sounds of the languages.

Miriam also sang the same prayers in French, for their guests that night. Their eyes teared up with the sheer beauty of the moment. Unexpectedly Anhah began singing in her Inuit dialect. Everyone was stunned, especially when they heard the translation:

Oh Great One, Oh Great One

We thank You for this food, for this food,

Give us the strength, to hunt and fish again,

And in this place, to gather in the food,

Oh Great One, Oh Great One

No one said a word after they heard this. They just soaked in the beauty. One thing was for certain though…….. life on planet earth was becoming more beautiful all the time.

      

Writing and Image © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree

Peace and blessings to everyone.

“If you love nature, you will love people.”

The Last People XXXIII – The Journey Home

Oceans 2032

It wasn’t until they reached the interstate that the silence was broken. Cathy said, “It’s good, that you buried him Jeremiah.” “It was the right thing to do.” They shook their heads yes, but it was the change in Cathy that they were most happy about. She looked….well….she looked so free now. Jeremiah thought for a minute, as he watched Miriam driving the van, then he said, “He was someone’s son….” It was all he could think of to say. They didn’t know it at the time, but it would be the last time anyone would mention Lance. Cathy put her hand on Jeremiah’s shoulder, and said, “Thank you.”, and she meant it.

By the time they reached the West Virginia border, the mood changed even more. Jeremiah was driving, when Miriam spoke to him in perfect Amharic, “My Prince, you were wonderful today, I look forward to seeing you later…..” She gave him a little wink. He chuckled, and even though his Amharic was a little rough, he managed to say in her language, “My Queen, it was the Creator, (he had trouble with the word Creator) that did the work today.” He continued with, “You will always have my heart”.

Suddenly Jennifer took her seatbelt off, leaned forward from the seat behind them, and stuck her head between Miriam and Jeremiah, while saying, “Hey Miriam can you teach me some Amharic?!!” “That way, I’ll know some of this love language, the two of you are always talking!” Miriam and Jeremiah were both embarrassed, but it was funny, so they chuckled too, with everyone else.

Cathy added her two cents, when she said, “You do talk in “code” a lot you guys.” Miriam and Jeremiah were blushing but they did smile sheepishly, at each other. They were both thinking that they would more careful with the love talk.

It was 8 year old Cory that brought up the topic of food. “Mommy I’m hungry!” “I sure wish I had some of your fried chicken!” Jennifer followed that with a question, by asking if the chickens in the surrounding farms were safe. Up to this point Jeremiah had only been using frozen chicken when he cooked, and it was the only meat they had been using.

Miriam asked “Should we be vegetarian?” “What should the village of the new earth look like?” This sparked a long discussion as they turned onto the Pennsylvania Turnpike, and headed east. They all discussed meat, and whether or not they should eat it. Was it cruel? Miriam did point out that the Old Testament gave a lot of instructions about food. And she added, “We have run every test possible on the chickens nearby, and we can find nothing wrong with them.”

Jennifer added, “You have not tasted chicken, until you have tasted my mother’s recipe for orange chicken!” With that they all voted again, only for the second time, as a group (the first time had been about guns). If someone wanted to be vegetarian, or even vegan, that was fine, but they would raise chickens on the farm. It was unanimous.

There was only one problem, Cory said, “Mommy I’m still hungry…..and more hungry than ever!” Her mouth was watering at the thought of orange chicken. Cathy reached into the cooler they were carrying, and pulled out a tomato and lettuce sandwich, with mayonnaise. Cory took one look at it and said, “Mom!”

To be continued.

     

Writing and Image © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree

Peace and blessings to everyone.

“If you love nature, you will love people.”

The Last People XXIX – The Bear

Growing Up and More 013

Cathy’s purse, with the .357 magnum revolver, was kept in the kitchen, on top of the refrigerator. Miriam hated having it in her house, but didn’t say anything, except to Jeremiah. She knew Cathy still needed healing from her time with Lance, and she was scared he might follow them to the farm. She also knew Cathy wanted the pistol close by, just in order to feel safe.

Miriam was mainly concerned about Cory though. She was a good kid, but what if she got curious one day, and climbed up there? She shuddered at the thought.

Now that it was early fall, Jeremiah spent most of his days in the fields, getting the soil ready for next spring’s planting. He was getting used to driving the large tractors, including a John Deere 3460. He was using something called a rake, pulled behind the tractor, and he even did some plowing, in preparation for next year. It didn’t matter if the rows weren’t straight, it was all just practice.

The rest of the Pennsylvania survivors weren’t interested in using the large equipment, but they did want to start bringing in the harvest from nearby farms. They would all need food for the winter. Cathy and Cory spent two whole days harvesting green beans and brought back a pickup full, along with some late blooming watermelon. Miriam concentrated on bringing in corn and potatoes, and some of them were sweet potatoes, which she loved. She had to take it easy though, and only picked what she could.

Jennifer mostly stayed at home, but once in a while she was able to pick some tomatoes, and peas. She discovered a patch of blackberries once, and ate herself sick, along with putting some in the buckets. Jacob did very well, strapped onto her back.

One morning Cathy, Cory, and Miriam were in a potato field at a nearby farm, when they heard a rustling sound in the woods close by. They stopped picking, straightened their backs, and listened. They became perfectly still, when they saw something large, and black, break through the brush. Two eyes peered at them. They were so terrified they could not breathe. Remaining perfectly still (even Cory) they realized there was no place to run. It was a bear, and they had no way to protect themselves.

The bear sniffed the air, looked away from them, and began walking along the edge line of the woods. Cathy was trembling, but fortunately the bear kept walking until it was gone. Once it was out of site, they all ran for the blue Mazda SUV, and drove back to the farm as fast as they could.

So the question around the dinner table that night, was what do they do about guns? Didn’t they need to protect themselves? Even Miriam was beginning to think so. They needed to bring in the harvest for at least another 3 weeks, and nobody wanted to be in the presence of a bear without one.

To be continued.

     

Writing and Image © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree

Peace and blessings to everyone.

“If you love nature, you will love people.”

The Last People XXVIII – Across Cultures

Maine and More 643

The weather in Inuvijik, Quebec was 28 degrees (Fahrenheit), with snow and high winds. As Anuniaq sat with his laptop typing to the group of survivors in Pennsylvania, the other six Inuit people sat watching him, glued to the glowing screen. They all wanted to hear about the other people still alive.

They were writing in French to a woman named Miriam, learning about each other and the farm that grew green, natural food. Miriam told them how many they were, and all about their cultural differences, that her husband was white, but she was from Eastern Africa. He was short and yet she was tall. This floored the Inuit, because they had never seen a couple married, that were of different colors. They had never seen a tall woman either.

Anuniaq typed slowly that the weather was bad today, but the electricity was still on, their town was almost completely solar, and it was working well. In the future, the issue may be the batteries giving out. The also had a fire going in their cabin (that’s what whites called their house), and it was warmer than usual indoors. It was almost 57 degrees inside!

In Pennsylvania, Miriam was typing as fast as she could, with everyone looking over shoulder. Jennifer was there too, but rocking the baby in her arms, trying to get him to go to sleep. They all wanted to hear about the Inuit people. Cathy and Cory sat at another laptop close by, looking up all they could, on Inuit culture. Jeremiah was getting annoying though, when each response came back. He could not read French, and he kept saying, “What did they say??” “What did they say??” “Jeremiah, please be patient!” was Miriam’s response.

Stringing the emails together, the Inuit had all lost relatives and friends in the biological wars, but they had managed to find each other, and they made an agreement not to leave each other, unless there was some terrible disagreement. There were three men, two women, and two children, but none of them were related, and several had different dialects. Two men found a drone one day that had crashed, probably due to weather, and they found a package attached underneath. In the package they found the information that the other survivors had been given.

They all lived in one house, and fished for food. They could not find green food anymore, but sometimes they could find canned beans. Their town of Inuvijik was on the northern tip of Quebec Province, and on the Hudson Bay.

Jeremiah was about to ask Miriam to type a question, when his cell phone rang. It was Roger so he thought he should answer. “My good man, I’m just calling to let you know I am in Bordeaux!” Roger said excitedly. Jeremiah asked, “So, have you met her?” “Yes I have and she’s a wonderful person.” Roger was smiling over the phone. “Right now we are in a café, having some tea.” “Roger that is wonderful!” There was a pause on Roger’s end, and then he began whispering, “Jeremiah, I have a problem though…..Monique is very, very Catholic.” Still whispering he continued, “She walks around with the rosary beads, and she seems to be praying all the time……..I’m not sure what to do about it…….”

Jeremiah responded quickly, “Don’t do anything about it Roger.” “Remember, you have a friend now, embrace her for who she is.” “We were not meant to all be the same, embrace the differences, it makes life exciting, and if you can’t embrace the differences, then look past them.”

There was another long pause, while Roger thought about this. Then he said, “You’re quite right Jeremiah.” “My good man, you are right – how boring it would be if she was like me!” They both laughed. Before hanging up Roger shared that he and Monique were conversing in French. Jeremiah was shocked and said, “French?” “Yes her English isn’t very good and I don’t know her language, and we both know French fluently.”

As he hung up the phone, Jeremiah couldn’t help but notice that everyone was communicating in French today. He wondered, “Would French be the language of the new earth?” Maybe Miriam could teach him.

To be continued.

      

Writing and Image © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree

Peace and blessings to everyone.

“If you love nature, you will love people.”

The Last People on Earth XXVII – Love and Hope

Oceans 807

Jennifer could not find the goat’s milk anywhere. It had been three weeks now since Jacob was born, and she was starting to mix in a little of the goat’s milk for him. But then, she could not find Miriam and Jeremiah either. She searched the house and looked outside, but there was no trace of them. They were often in the lab building, working on testing soil and plant life, so she headed there.

But she was surprised, when she opened the door, and they weren’t there either. She looked around, was that a noise upstairs? She walked over to the door that led to the second floor, knocked, but then opened it without waiting. She didn’t really pay attention to the noises she heard, “Oh no! Shhhh! Lift your arm – quick! Ouch! Shhhh! Move your head!” Jennifer did get one foot on the bottom step, but heard Jeremiah yell, “Don’t come up here!” It was then that she understood, and she was horrified. She said, “I’m sorry!” I am soooo sorry!”, and she began backing up, with her hand over her mouth, and turning ten shades of red. Fortunately, she did not see anything.

Then she heard Miriam’s voice. “What do you need, Jennifer?” Still embarrassed, Jennifer stumbled over her words, but managed to ask about the goat’s milk. “It’s in the freezer, you have to thaw it first.” Without replying, Jennifer left in a hurry, and closed the door. It wasn’t until later that she thought the whole thing was funny. It took a while for the young couple to recover, but eventually their lips started searching again. He buried his face in her neck, and her nails………well……… the rest of it is not to be told about here……

Later that evening Roger called from England, and Jeremiah was in the kitchen cooking dinner, so he reached for the phone. Jeremiah had spoken to Roger a number of times now, and he enjoyed their conversations immensely. Roger had been a Professor of British Literature, before the wars, and he could tell you anything you wanted to know, about the great poets that had once walked the British Isles.

“Jeremiah!” Roger was obviously exited, “Jeremiah, you were right!” “I found someone, and she is in Croatia!” “I was using that software you gave me, and I was able to look her up, and I called her Jeremiah!” “She sounds amazing.” Jeremiah was excited for him, and said, “Roger, that’s wonderful!”

Roger went on to say it was not a romance, they were just two people, so alone they were going insane, and now suddenly, the future seemed bright again. Roger continued, “Even if we are just friends forever Jeremiah, it is one of the happiest moments of my life.” Jeremiah had tears in his eyes, and asked, “What’s her name?” “Monique! Isn’t that beautiful?” It was beautiful. The two men talked for almost an hour, (that’s a long time for men). Roger shared all about their plans, to meet in France, in fact Bordeaux.

But the good news was not over yet. The next morning, after breakfast, Miriam was in the lab building, while Jeremiah was still in the house shaving. She just happened to check her email, in case, like they did once a week usually. When she saw her inbox, she screamed. “Oh God!” she said, as she printed it out quickly. She was screaming with joy as soon as she had it in her hands. She ran towards the house, screaming, “Jeremiah!” “Jeremiah!”

They all came running, and met her in front of the house. As tears streamed down her face, she yelled, “There are seven more people alive!” “They are in Northern Canada, and they are Inuit people!” Chills ran up and down their spines.

To be continued.

       

Writing and Image © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree

Peace and blessings to everyone.

“If you love nature, you will love people.”