Sunlight began to slide across the grassy hillside and Jens felt the first stirrings of energy returning. His mind began to clear as remnants of his dreams quickly faded, less distinct as moments passed. His skin began to tingle as it warmed, and slowly turning his head, he rolled to his side and pushed himself up to a sitting position. As often happened while lying on bare ground, he felt as if tiny hairs had stuck into the earth and a part of him imagined lying back down again and sinking into sleep. “No” he thought to himself, “get up,” and he opened his eyes to the dawning sky.
He looked at his legs, still outstretched and beginning to glisten in the daylight. It had been a cool night, and his body would take a few minutes to warm up enough to get up and walk. Taking a deep breath, he smelled the dew evaporating from the ground and as shadows shortened, waited for the sunlight to crawl its way towards him. Patience was easy for Jens; he never hurried, never rushed. In time, the cravings borne of night and sleep would pass as golden sunlight bathed his smooth, green skin.
He ran his hands across the moist ground cover and collecting dew on his palms brought them to his lips and licked the moisture from them. He tasted slight saltiness, the result of marine fog that had settled over the rolling hills during the night. He thought about the stream at the bottom of the hill, and its water tasting of Tamalpais. This was his place, amid the redwoods and grassy hillsides, the spot where he’d been born and had lived his entire life. He’d never worked, never been hungry, never worried, really, about anything at all.
Warmth began to spread across his body as sunlight reached him. He felt a surge of energy as photosynthesis began to produce carbohydrates that circulated through his veins and gave him strength. He spread his arms wide to catch more of the refreshing rays, akin to life itself. He loved the feeling of feeding on sunlight.
Like others of his kind, Jens was what was left of the human race, a part plant and part animal hybrid. Animals had always been part plant, of course, having appropriated mitochondria from ancient bacteria millions of years before. But Jens was post-homo sapiens, the result of genetic engineering of the 22nd Century. Over-population and global warming had nearly wiped out humanity, and the scientists who created Jen’s species were in a race against time. Their solution was ingenious, and remarkably successful.
Beings like Jens needed no agriculture, no industry, no borders and in warm climates (now nearly everywhere), no clothing. Sunlight, water, oxygen and carbon dioxide satisfied the basic needs of ordinary life. The human species had returned to the warm embrace of Mother Earth; she slowly healed and the concrete and lifeless things of the past crumbled and disappeared into her ground. With unlimited sunlight, warmth and water, competition and conflict faded into a mythology of ancient, troubled gods tortured by greed, who in their final desperation gave birth to Jens and his people, their theogony of creation.
Jens finally rose fully to his feet and, his body rippling with strength, ran downhill in the bright sun towards the laughing cries of others splashing in the soft current of Tamalpais Creek.