Noah let fly a raven through an access hatch he had installed before the flood, but the waters continued to swell for another five months. The raven, finding no place to land, returned to Noah and the rest of earth’s inhabitants.
Seven months after it all started, the mammoth vessel with its living, breathing cargo lodged itself cleanly in a cleft on Mount Ararat, and for three months the waters continued to drain outward into the seas.
After spending nearly a year on the vessel, Noah released a dove, but it too returned. He released the dove again seven days later, and this time it brought back a green olive leaf in its beak. After another seven days, he released the dove for a third time. It was never seen again.
Noah and his family lived in the floating house for a year and two months. Although the ground was still somewhat sludgy, they’d all had enough, so they exited and led the animals, birds, and other creatures out upon the sun-kissed mountainside.
Noah built an altar and gathered the seven pairs of split-hooved animals, as well as the seven pairs of birds. He slayed them and burned them up on the altar as a sacrifice to God. This gesture so pleased God, that he said, “I’ll never again curse the earth or destroy all creatures because of humankind. The human heart is inclined to do evil from a very young age. May the seasons endure as the earth endures.”
Then God made a new promise between himself and humankind. “Multiply yourselves and populate the whole earth. From this day, the animal kingdom will fear you, for they are now yours for food. I gave Adam and Eve the gardens; I now give you everything. However, do not eat the blood of animals. Blood is life. For this reason also, whoever causes human bloodshed will pay with his own blood. The image of God is encoded in human blood.”
Then God ordained a sign of his promise: “Whenever you see a rainbow, remember I’ll never again destroy the earth because of human evil.”
Inspiration: Genesis 7-9