It is a place of hard sand, a place where billions of grains have hardened and formed a solid ground of bleached yellow and dirty white. There are mountains topped with green pines and big square bricks. The Cannanites were spawned in these lands. Their robes moved in the dry desert wind. It was in the desert heat where a sect would emerge, a small group beneath the deities and gods who destroyed their idols and talked to the being without shape. Without sex, without a female, the sky god ruled alone. This was their glue, the common belief that would separate them from the other herders and farmers and carpenters of the land. Ripe with olives and dates, red with the blood of pomegranates and sacrifice, the land gave birth to the singular. Three thick branches would sprout from the tree rooted in myth and time, three branches linked by story, blood and place.
The world came to and end, as all stories do, as each life is a world unto itself. Coming from the great city to the east, Nebuchadnezzar conquered the mountain, capturing the learned minds of the sky god people. Writers and poets and singers of tradition were taken in chains and brought to Babylon. It was here, in the city, where the stories were written, where with careful pen upon parchment the myths were transcribed. The act of the hand would be the revolution, the action that would carry myth through five thousand years. The tales that would inspire war and sacrifice. The plot that would be taught as total truth clothed in the everlasting wrath of the all-seeing sky god.
Some eventually returned to the mountain and the stories were brought and studied and passed to the children that awoke in the gold-cast land. There would be kings. There would be teachers. There would be small inner chambers that remained forever dark. Animals were sacrificed and fires burned with the heat of prayer. And the branch sprouted.
The Romans followed through with a request from the sky-god elders, forever silencing the dissidents… only, the limb was not severed, it grew in the hard-bleached ground and wound like ivy up the continent and through many seas and over oceans. It would be the same people that would return with a thirst for vengeance, many generations later. Not recognizing their own kind, throats were slashed and children became food for the hungry. The mountain would be conquered again and the men of chariots would hunt the priests of the sky god, the swords would enter and the rituals would die with the men. There would be one, the one escapee, the teacher that would teach after the walls had fallen. The exiles vanished with the cool wind, carrying with them their tragic memories of the end of the world.
The mountain lived on in their dreams and the two branches grew yet another branch of similar design, a singular entity at its center with a different prophet that orbited it like a moon. The mountain grew with cities and people, with kings and priests of all three branches. But they would come from the outside, they, clad in chain mail and red crosses would come with horses and weapons, starving and seeking the mountain. The quest continued. Generations later, the fruits of each branch would bleed and kill for the peaks of gold, for the place that was theirs, for the place where things were good, where the sky god could find them.
In Sunday school, little girls are taught from books with cartoon camels and they are told of little animals that warmed a blessed baby. On Saturday, little boys are scrubbed clean and put into black clothes and walk with their fathers and wig-wearing mothers. This is the place of bombs and pomegranates, the place of exploding buses and red streets, the place of lost knowledge and fixed rules.
Were the secrets ever there? Were they found and then lost again? Or does the quest continue, an endless search for the hidden meaning of absence?