There was a time, they say, when Mother Earth and Father Ceiling held each other in a tight embrace. They loved each other so that they stayed pressed together, face to face, with only the smallest space between them.
Times were hard, then, for our ancestors. They crawled on their bellies between Mother and Father. Their elbows were scored and sore. The trees could not grow tall. The animals could not run. Human kind could not hunt or garden. Mother and Father were neglectful parents, at first. They did not know that they suffocated their children.
Mother Earth and Father Ceiling were not callous. They knew that their children suffered in the middle of their embrace. They knew that our ancestors’ backs were bent by the narrow space Mother and Father gave them to live, and they cared. They felt pity and regret. Yet their love for one another was too strong: they could not bear to be apart from one another. They could not conceive of it.
They said, “We know our children have no room, yet what can we do? We cannot leave each other.”
A man said, “Mother, we are hurting. Our knees and backs are broken.”
A woman said, “Father, we are suffocating. We must have room to breathe.”
Mother Earth said, “I cannot let your father go. I need him close to me to feel his love.”
Father Ceiling said, “If I let your mother go, what will happen? I may lose her forever.”
The man and the woman spoke to one another. “How can we help them save us? They love us. Surely they do not wish us to suffer.”
The man and the woman loved one another, as well. Mother Earth pressed up against their bellies, and Father Ceiling against their backs. The man and woman had no room to embrace like their Mother and Father. They could only reach between the rocks to take one another’s hands.
Father Ceiling watched them crawl together, their hands interlaced. “That’s it, Mother,” he said. “We must do as our children do.”
“How, Father?” asked Mother Earth. “I cannot bear to be so far apart from you. They can touch each other so little. I do not wish us to be so separate.”
“If our children have the strength, Mother, so do we,” said Father Ceiling. “I love you, and I love my children. I must be strong enough for both.”
Father Ceiling pushed away from Mother Earth, and both wept. Mother Earth’s tears formed lakes and rivers. Father Ceiling’s formed clouds and rain. Father’s arms pushed outward, creating great columns, with which he holds onto Mother Earth and, at the same time, pushes her away.
For Mother Earth, though she loves us all, wishes to be back in Father Ceiling’s embrace. That is why she pulls so strongly upon him. That is why, sometimes, she pulls a piece of him to her. Mother Earth and Father Ceiling love us, but they love each other, too.