Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Midnight race to the Jordan

Across the moonlit plains the three men galloped with fearsome determination, as though all of Heaven held it’s breath in expectation. Phinehas led from the front, skillfully jumping over rocks and boulders, closely followed by Salman.

Caleb, however, lagged a little too far far behind. Not that he was a poor horsemen, but with every jump over tree stumps and ditches, his knees and back ached with pain. He usually didn't feel a day over forty, but to his own frustration, his eighty year old body was finally letting him down.

Moving out of the desert wilderness and into the Jordan valley, the landscape rapidly transformed into an oasis. The ground was carpeted with grass and lush plants, and a chorus of frogs and crickets filled the cool night air. The men galloped and weaved through large majestic palm trees that lined the river like sacred guardians of an ancient boundary.

One such tree had fallen over in a recent storm, presenting another hurdle for the horses. Phinehas was the first to jump and cleared it easily. For Salman, a slight stumble on landing was not enough to knock him from his saddle.

Finally, it was Caleb's turn. Salman waited behind to watch him negotiate the obstacle, but negotiation wasn’t one of Caleb’s strengths. He cleared the log courageously but then fell from his horse in the most undignified manner, hanging upside down with his legs still wrapped around its neck.

The fall wasn't hard enough to hurt more than Caleb’s pride, but Salman still checked to ask.

“You alright?”

“I'm fine,” Caleb replied, “just fine, keep going.”

“Let me help,” Salman insisted, as he dismounted his horse to hoist Caleb back into the saddle.

“Don’t bother, we're running out of time,” said Caleb.

“All the more reason,” replied Salman with a glance to the horizon. A faint glow in the East foretold the imminent arrival of dawn.

“There’s only an hour or so of darkness,” said Caleb. “If Jericho’s scouts see us approach the crossing from the South, they’ll know we’re Hebrews.”

“You think they have scouts?” ask Salman.

“Bet your life on it. I would, if I were them.”

“Come on,” continued Salman, “we can still catch Phinehas.”

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