A bright morning sun awoke the deep, heavy scents of the swamp that the earth-angels had slept in. Marc was sleeping under the shade of a birch tree, while Joel was lying directly in the sun.
Marc sat up, eyed his surroundings, crawled to the tree which had shaded him, and leaned on it. He began to think of all the events which had brought him to this point. They did not have much control over their direction. Had he not been controlled enough by fate on earth? He only wanted…
“Eh! Débarque! Tu vas croquer mon dos.” Joel, in his quest for shade, had, it seemed, rolled over on to a French person.
Joel leapt to his feet looking all about. “Who’s there? Who said that?” questioned Joel. He then looked over to Marc who was walking over. “What ‘dit say?”
“It didn’t speak in Heavenish,” said Marc. “It spoke in French. I do believe it said: ‘Get off! You are going to break my back.’ But I don’t see anyone now, maybe you already killed him.”
“Very funny. Ha Ha. Just like a human to make sport of someone else’s pain,” came a very accented Heavenish from the same area where Joel had lain. The two boys bent down close to the ground, and saw a frog holding a crumbled leaf in his hand. “That’s right a frog. Haven’t you ever seen a frog before?”
“Sorry Monsieur …” began Joel.
“The name is Grossemouche. And just look what you did to my saxophone.” Grossemouche exhibited the broken leaf to the human jury.
“I really am sorry. If I had anything of worth I’d give it to you,” said Joel.
“You stupid human, keep your apologies. I want nothing from you.” Grossemouche was beginning to turn away when he heard something, “Eh! Écoute! J’enttends quelqu’un.”
Joel looked over at Marc for a translation. “He hears someone,” whispered Marc.
“Can you not hear that? Such talent! I think I’m in love. Now that frog can play a saxophone.” Straining their ears the two boys could just barely hear a deep melody coming from the other side of the river. “I’m sorry for my earlier rudeness, but I must go now. Au-revoir!”
Grossemouche, leapt to the surface of the water, and in three more bounds he was at the other side. One last jump and he was out of sight.
Marc and Joel watched him go, then looked at each other. “Frogs,” said Joel, “all they ever think about is sax.”
Marc and Joel were laughing so loud that they did not notice that there were a total of three voices laughing. Only when their laughter subsided, did they noticed the third voice. At which time they stopped laughing, and traced the third voice to a tree stump.
Joel was a little nervous, while Marc walked over to the tree stump. When Marc disappeared behind the stump, the laughter stopped. He returned dragging a boy about the same height as himself.
The boy was dressed in a robe and sandals made of green oak leaves. His hair was shoulder length, and he had no visible wings perched on his back. The boy’s eyes showed that he was hurt by Marc’s forcefulness and rudeness.
“I don’t take kindly to being man-handled,” said the boy straightening out his leaves.
“You must forgive my companion, he doesn’t take kindly to being spied on,” said Joel. “Please tell us your name, and where you came from.”
“My name is Oak. And I live in Utopia. I came here the day before yesterday to think and pray.”
“Well Oak, pleased to meet you and sorry for treating you so roughly. My name is Marc,” said Marc and shook Oak’s hand, “and this here is Joel.” Joel also shook his hand. “So you were praying, eh? I’m glad to here that. I was beginning to think that no-one prayed in heaven.”
“Oh sure, in Utopia we constantly thank the Lord for all that he has given. Our women-folk sing in thanks before meals. The men have gathered prayer before any community work, which happens to be every day,” said Oak very proudly.
“Could you bring us there, Oak? We would be glad to visit and learn your ways,” said Joel.
“It is a day’s walk, but if you don’t mind the walk I would love to show it to you.”
Before they began the journey to Utopia, Oak said a prayer asking for a good journey. The two boys left, walking once again down the path, quite happy with their new walking companion.
As they walked, Marc and Joel asked Oak questions about his people. Oak liked to talk, and after a few warming questions, the boys needed only to listen to gather all the information they wanted and more.
“The first founders of Utopia were, of course, just like you, earth-angels who had saved a life. The men, having several earth names, named themselves Pine, Spruce, and Eucalyptus. Their three eternal-mates were Rose, Poppy, and Begonia. The six of them, being very uncomfortable, left Paradise together and came to the land of Giant Trees. It was here that they made their first houses, although, because they knew no tree lore, the houses didn’t last very long.
“Once they established the foundation of our government, many other settlers came to the very same place. The one law that was ever made is, ‘Love thy brothers, be them Sorom, Sorem, Earth-angels, Soron, Soren, or any other unmentioned persons. And with this love, let them be whoever and act however they yearn. Thirdly, let this love show, by giving no emotional hurt to your brothers; less you shame yourself and your family.’ …Oops! I jumped vital information. The children of earth-angels are named the blessed born, or soron and soren. Notice the slight deviation from Sorom and Sorem, the first born. I, by the way, am a Soron.
“When the first Soron was born, Eucalyptus wanted a name for his son which would be unique but also identify him as his son. He gathered the citizens of Utopia and before them said, ‘Look upon my son. Does he not look like me? Is he not a chip of rock from me, the stone? Many of you have suggested that I name him Cedar, but I say nay. Since my son is the son of my spirit I have decided to name him Eucalyptus Branch. And when the day comes that my child shall have a child, I shall give him my name and he shall give his to his son. I shall then be known as Seasoned Eucalyptus, he as Eucalyptus, and his son as Eucalyptus Branch. …After which, I shall take a name that will give me a unique identity probably Charlie Eucalyptus.’ Since that day, this is how the naming of our children works. And because a couple can only have two children this naming procedure works very well.
“We have a population of over fifty thousand, and everyone knows everyone. Or so we fake it, because we can discern them from their clothing.”
Oak went on to explain the role of men and women and their positions in society. The gathering of food, the erection of new houses and streets, the foundations for their prayers, marriage, and birth. At the end of which the three boys said a prayer and lay down in the grass. Oak was the first to fall asleep and all was once again quiet. And Marc and Joel saw that this was good.