Sunday, September 25, 2016

In the Middle of It All

Look at all this beauty! “You may eat freely,” God said - consume freely, take it all in, make it a part of you -

So you accept this gift of unguardedness, wandering freely. You open your heart to receive the world, using the fullness of your senses; feel the warmth of the sun on the back of your neck, say thank you for the blessed choice of the mosquito to take her meal elsewhere; enjoy the taste of water when you scoop it to your mouth, know the particular scents of the morning and evening, hear another creature’s movements somewhere in the garden, your soul enlarging with each particle of creation -

And then your eye settles on the tree. You remember the word, “except.”

It’s all yours, except for that one tree.

A curious word, except. Here we are, so close to the beginning of Creation, and there is already an “in” and an “out” group, what’s ok and what’s not. “In” and “out” makes the possibilities feel a little more limited.

In the fertile land, the story says, God grew every beautiful tree with edible fruit, and also the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Go about your business. Enjoy the expansiveness of God’s garden. Delight in the diversity of creation. Wander freely and let your senses absorb the richness which surrounds you. Care for all of it. Eat your fill, except – see that one, there, right in the middle of everything? Eat from that one, and it’ll kill you. Have a nice day. Enjoy your freedom. Try not to think about the tree.


That not-insignificant limit might have been easier to take if the tree were at the edge of the garden instead of If it took a day trip to get out to the tree; if you had to go out of your way to see it, a bit of thoughtful tourism perhaps, a diversion. Somewhere in the corner, or on one of the side paths you didn’t travel every day, where you could credibly pretend it didn’t exist, now and then, instead of constantly catching glimpses when you were vulnerable and unprepared to deal with it.