(Note: I have been overwhelmed lately by national and world events and have repeatedly attempted some kind of productive commentary on the volatility and violence. Instead – I feel there is a need for lament and not answers. A dirge is needed not a white-tower social critique. Weep, mourn, wail – we are exiles of Eden. Here is a short work of fiction imagining the heartbreak and pain after Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden – this one being from Adam’s perspective. Maybe in remembering what we have lost we will appreciate anew He who is the new Way back into Eden.)

“So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.– Genesis 3:24

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Early at the breaking of dawn as the dew and mist watered the rolling hills he would often slip out of the shelter as his wife and children slept. He would wander through forest and field – east towards where the Garden had been – which now was encased in a perimeter of thick tangles of thorny vines and jagged overgrowth. The flaming cherubim who stood guard could no longer be seen – nor the tree by which all the trouble began.

He carefully waded among razor sharp brambles and came to the Garden’s edge where the thorns grew like a fortress wall. Blood trickled from his legs leaving a subtle trail as he approached. As the sun’s first rays made their way through branches and leaves above him he began to hack at the spiny vines with his hunting dagger. With each strike it seemed the thorned wall of vines would repair itself only maddening his intent and driving him to a quickened pace of strikes.

A subtle breeze cooled his sweaty brow. Leaves shuttered as if awakened. Then a stronger wind arose as his face reddened and he swung more fierce and fast with anger and tears surfacing from the pain he carried in his heart. He longed for the garden as he longed for his own life. Furiously he worked as his mind raced and the forest all around him seemed to be breathing his name. Collapsing on the ground he howled in despair – his voice echoing through the wooded valley.

As his vision blurred in a stream of tears and sobbing he grabbed at the earth – remembering the red soil that shared his name. He screamed as if a wild beast – a long uninterrupted roar of bitter remorse. Leaves danced violently overhead as birds took flight. In a moment the tree tops twisted and shook, like the sound of ocean waves. Storm-force wind swept the forest floor where Adam collapsed. He fell prostrate with his face buried in the scent of dark soil. His hot tears mingled with the dirt and leaves.

In the deafening silence of his own mind and the fury of the wind he heard a whispering and then a word. And then another. And another. He recognized the voice – the voice of His Creator – once so near and now as if on a distant shore – and yet speaking. He leaned into the wind. “I am”. He strained to hear. “I Am making” Would he open another way? A new way into the Garden? “I am making a new way” His heart lunged upward toward the voice. “I am making a new way – you will not see. It is yet for an appointed time. Be at peace – I Am with you.”

Jolted as if out of a trance he stumbled to his feet. No wind. Only silence surrounded him. His young sons raced towards him in the distance. “Will they ever taste the fruits of Eden?” he wondered. “Will they walk with the Creator?” He rose to greet them.

 

J. Fowler

J. Fowler is the website editor and co-founder, along with his wife Pamela, of the Sustainable Traditions project. The Fowlers live with their seven children on a farm near the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

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