- by Christopher Newport
Out of the Cave
The First Day Everyman stirred and woke. He stretched and uncurled from his fetal position, lay in silence for a while and noticed the brightness coming from outside. The light was a large sphere at the entrance to his shelter and he rose to his feet and walked along the cavern, stepping timorously into the glaring light. The sky had the brilliance of the bluest sapphire and below him a sea of tall green grass extended forever, or so it seemed to Everyman. Everyman looked around, he was at the entrance to a small cave half way up a small rocky hill. It was warm, which was just as well - all he had to wear was an old, thin and holey animal skin he had found inside the cave.
Far in the distance he could see a herd of large animals grazing. He also noticed irregular lines in the grass all leading toward a distant and large elevation. Everyman surmised that it was some animals trekking towards a rocky tor far in the distance.
An urge to carry on He felt an urge to follow. He could not fight this urge. He felt as though he was being called or summoned. It was a silent compulsion, inside his head, urging him. He was not afraid, he felt no fear, but he knew he had to go. Climbing down the rock face, Everyman set out. At the base of the hill he stepped into the grassy sea and found the grass was as high as his shoulders! He continued walking for some time. He noticed he had left a trail behind him as he had walked. A trail identical to the ones he had seen from the cave above. Were there others like him? Different to him? Dangerous? Everyman paused and came to a halt. His primitive intellect thought for a while, “Should I run back to the safety of my cave? Or should I carry on.”
He stood in silence for a while. Then with one large purposeful stride he continued on his journey.
Pacing forward inexorably Everyman called out to the grass and the small animals and insects in his own language, little more than grunts and song. “My road ahead may be rocky and hard underfoot! What I find may be dangerous and frightening! But I will go anyway. Better to find out than to imagine. So here I go! Woo hoo!”
He ran for a while singing and laughing through the whispering grass, over the stony ground. He stopped running in his peculiar gait and began to walk. Everyman was fighting fatigue. He waded through a swift river. His feet, cut, bruised, and aching. Everyman staggered. One foot dragged after the other. Darkness encroached above him. His body ached and screamed at him to stop and rest. He lay down in the soft grass. He slept the sleep of the weary. The Second Day
He awoke early in the morning - the sun had just risen like fire. The world around him, still. Suddenly Everyman heard sounds. The grunting and murmuring of animals, the chirrup of insects and the singing of birds. It was cold and frosty. The sun would soon deal with that. There was a breeze making the grass move like a great ocean. It was so peaceful and beautiful out here. Everyman cried with tears like rain: it was all so all overwhelmingly beautiful. He lowered himself to one knee and drank from a nearby stream. Then, cupping the cool water in his hands, he washed himself. The dust and dirt slid off his skin in a muddy trickle. Everyman looked up and across the stream and he curiously noticed the other side; a manicured garden, with paths, mowed grass and pruned trees.
Small animals skittered about and larger creatures grazed on the grass. Everyman walked through the stream and made his way onward. This new place must have been made and cared for by someone or something - cultivated and planned by some intelligence.
The diversity of the creators
Turning to look back, to his surprise he saw a multitude of trails through the long grass. Some trails stopped and turned around to go back the way they came. Some stopped at the stream and went no further. Still others walked on: over the stream into the unprotected open space. He noticed the creators of these trails were all similar to him, but not the same. All roughly the same in shape, yet they differed in size and colour and texture. Some were rough, hairy and burly. Some were smooth and slight. The hues of this multitude varied from black to palest white. Everyman was petrified and at a loss as to what to do. Never before had he seen so many of his own kind. In fact, until now he thought he was the only one! With fear he squinted to get a better view of their faces. Those he saw had the same anxiety in their eyes! He had a choice now, to join those who continued upwards or peel away in trepidation like the ones who turned away. His fear was not enough to turn him back. Everyman’s sheer curiosity could not be reigned back! Onward he strode with the others, yet still separate. All of them distinctive individuals with one combined objective. To find out why they had been called and more importantly, by whom.
A smear of reality and incomprehension As they staggered up the rocky prominence, he noticed that the top flattened into a small plateau. As the assembly landed on the flatness, they saw a strange figure: man-shaped, but of immense size, maybe three times larger than Everyman. The edges of the figure were blurred as if an artist has erased a drawn outline with his thumb. It appeared to be a smear between reality and…the incomprehensible! A voice became apparent inside his head. No face was visible and certainly no mouth! The sound clearly came from within - a distinct internal voice. The voice said, “My children. I called and many came.” The voice was soft and gentle, like a summer breeze, and yet Everyman could sense an incredible power.
“I gave you all the ability to hear. If only more had come. Some chose not to.” There was a sadness in the voice now. The ground beneath their feet rumbled slightly. “Look around you, my Children. See into the distance. As far as the eye can see and further still, I give to you!” Everyman looked past the parkland, across the stream, over the immense tracts of tall grassland, to his cave somewhere in the far distant mountains, and yet further still to the great sea! Perhaps even over the sea to undiscovered lands and people! His mind wheeled with the possibilities. Then he looked around. Some were walking away, as if disappointed! Yet others were talking amongst themselves. Some were angry and began shouting at each other. Everyman felt sad... He noticed the shape above them had dispersed and was now standing next to a smaller number of his fellows. They were all different in size and colour yet had one common resolve: they were all listening. Everyman stood in awe, as he too listened. “My children.” the immense figure said. “The greatest gift I have given to my children is the gift of inquisitiveness and free choice. Some of my children will hurt, some will ignore me. Some will languish in fear and regret. But still, you are all special. You are all loved!”
“Take my gift and share its goodness with all these others. Use this gift for the good of all. Oh my children, you will see and do amazing things. Alone and together. And eventually ALL of these others will follow your example. You may face heartache as you go, but that will pass, as those who hurt you see the inherent goodness of the gift.” The essence paused and surveyed the world. “This world will then truly be yours, a place like no other. Care for the beasts and the little creatures. Do no harm out of malice. But most of all, look after your fellow brothers and sisters. No matter how different they appear and sound. This world I have given to you all.” “But, be warned, for I know how easy it is to ignore the important and focus on the self. I created everything, not just for you but for all.” The Creator smiled, or so it seemed. "So - until we meet again!"… and the figure was gone! It had diffused and faded away. The Third Day The group who had come together walked down to the bottom of the hill, as one. They hugged one another and set off. Some in small groups, some alone and others in twos and threes. They did not know exactly what they would do. But they knew they had a world to discover and care for. They did not know how they would do it - it was a huge undertaking, but one pregnant with possibility. Everyman smiled, his face full of hope, and set off on a great adventure.
Christopher wants to see equalness in the world and desires to see the doors of Christianity open to all. He feels that, too often, faith and belief are used to promote individual ideologies. Christopher has been a drama junkie for decades. He enjoys reading, theatre, good food and good company. He loves music but can’t play a note, nor sing very well for that matter. He has two adult children and a patient wife. He lives in Melbourne, Australia. See all previous articles by Christopher Newport