First pages of Had Eve Come First and Jonah Been a Woman

Lonely Woman

Genesis 1 & 2

God creates Man, placing him in the Garden of Eden.

Had she been created first, might Woman have felt one with the earth and animals rather than compelled to subdue creation? 

Hurled through the heavens, spinning, spinning, spinning with the upheaval of creative force, Woman landed with a thump upon the earth. From non-being to being, just like that.

Dazed, she lay awhile hoping the crick in her neck would soon go away. And the muscle spasms in her back. After complaining to Creator that surely there was a gentler way to come into life—which Creator disputed, insisting that creativity is a painful process for both Creator and created—Woman fell asleep.

A chorus awakened her. Melodious chirps and tweets and coos, all in praise of Creator. Gazing upward, she saw feathered creatures, some bold in color, others in hues so similar to their surroundings they could hardly be seen. Many were perched on delicate branches that peacefully swayed back and forth.

Standing on shaky legs, Woman lifted her arms, waving them back and forth in imitation of the branches. As she tried to join the joyful song, she was startled by what came from her mouth. Not sweet chirps, as the creatures sang, but hoarse, grating noises that wavered in pitch. Nevertheless, she kept trying. Over and over she forced sounds from her throat, out through her mouth, until she was satisfied by what she heard, until she too was singing to Creator, but in firm, smooth tones.

Peering to her left, to her right, up, down, woman was awestruck by the beauty that surrounded her. Trees, some with straight trunks that rose high into the heavens, others with branches reaching out like canopies. Flowers of bright red and yellow and orange, their boldness and brilliance stirring her to leap and laugh. Blossoms of pink and white and lavender, their subdued tones inspiring her to be still and smile inside.

With careful steps she began to explore this world she’d been propelled into. She followed the trail of a scent until she came upon a lavish vine stretching from bough to bough. She climbed a tree and placing her nose against the vine’s small white blossoms, inhaled the spicy fragrance.

Life, it seemed, smelled good.

She came upon a gurgling stream. Seated on a large rock, the sun above warming her shoulders, Woman dipped her bare feet into water so clear she could see the pebbles beneath it. Coolness tickled her toes and sent darts of pleasure up her legs.

Life, it seemed, felt good.

She came upon a tree laden with yellow fruit. Plucking one from a branch, she bit into its soft flesh, savoring its mellowness. From a bush thick with red berries, she pulled off a cluster, put them in her mouth, and allowed the sweet juice to run down her chin.

Life, it seemed, tasted good.

Woman quickly grew accustomed to living in the wonderful garden, where luxurious trees stretched to the sky, where everything was pleasing to the senses. She took pleasure in tilling the earth, the soil caked beneath her fingernails. She chained flowers into a necklace, stuck blossoms in her hair, rubbed berry juice onto her cheeks. She ate of the bushes and trees.

When Woman gazed into the pool of water, she recognized that she was as beautiful as the rest of Creation. She liked the width of her hips and the strong legs that supported her. She liked her round breasts. Yes, she looked at her body and saw that it was good. Wonderful, in fact.

She became acquainted with the animals with whom she shared the garden, sometimes running alongside them, at other times sitting quietly and scratching their heads. One evening Creator assigned her the task of naming the animals. For many days Woman passed among them, running her fingers through fur and feathers, playfully allowing their tongues to caress her face. She respected the power that came with naming each being and pledged never to forget that they, like she, had been formed by Creator.

Pulling from the fertile soil life-sustaining fruits and vegetables, romping with the animals, Woman felt at one with the earth. Regularly, toward the end of the day, just as the sun was about to reach the horizon, she paused to sing praises to Creator. She gave thanks for the beauty and bounty that surrounded her.

Something was missing however. The birds did not stand still long enough to carry on a conversation, the giraffe always had its head in the treetops, and the goat wasn’t interested in what she was thinking.

One day Woman said to Creator, “I’m lonely.” And she began to cry. Which made Creator sad also.

While Creator pondered how the problem might be solved, Woman did what she usually did to ease her mind: She tilled the garden. It was upon watching Woman, her hands burrowing in the dirt, that Creator had an idea. Taking a clump of rich soil from the earth and adding to it water from the crystal clear stream, Creator shaped the handful of soil, giving it wide hips and thick legs and breasts. Creator breathed life into this form.

A girlfriend.