Outside my kitchen window, beyond the chicken-wire fence, two ravens hopped about under a lightning-struck eucalyptus tree, circling one another with blackened twigs jutting out of their beaks like they were children playing at swords. In Norse mythology, Odin, king of the gods, would send a pair of ravens to Earth, their names Huginn (thought) and Muninn (memory), here to spy on us humans and report back. A classic odd-couple archetype, Huginn was diligent in his duties, and Muninn was always getting lost. I was standing at the sink, waiting for my kettle to boil, watching the pair parry and slash, when Huginn suddenly dropped his weapon and looked at me.
I don’t like being looked at. The moment I was told God is always watching us was the moment I decided God wasn’t for me. One might assume this was a reflex to imagining a giant perv in the sky penetrating the bathroom ceiling with X-ray vision, but I wasn’t so concerned about my bare arse beaming under Their divine presence (although I concede that this is a very concerning hypothetical). As a child I didn’t perceive nudity as shameful so much as impractical. Skinned knees taught me that pants were a necessary ally in the war on asphalt, and T-shirts were a divine intervention between my hospital-white skin and the Australian sun. In Genesis, Eve bites into an apple from the Tree of Knowledge and puts on a coat for the first time. Perhaps Eve wasn’t ashamed of her nakedness, rather, she was a bit cold and finally knew how to trap and skin a grizzly bear. I was, and still am, far more disturbed by the implication that God has eyes, than by what God does with them.
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