Eden, Rediscovered: Part I

Knowing him today, you would hardly see the little boy victim that he was. You wouldn’t recognize him as a father as he sits alone in his tree house in the morning, with no tiny children to jump upon his bed to wake him. You wouldn’t find his old fear of failure behind his peaceful eyes. He is a different person today than he once was. He used to live in Pennsylvania, longing for the lullaby of the ocean. Once the kids grew up and family vacations became few and far between, he planned a relocation. He and his wife desired to retire in a warmer climate, like his parents had when they moved from New Jersey to Florida. His wife happily passed away before the move, content with the end of her career as a teacher and proud of the lives her children created for themselves. He was left alone, unhappy, and depressed. The dishes piled up in the sink, the counters and the tables, and the furniture except for his lazy boy chair were blanketed with a good coating of dust, dulling their vibrant colors of blue, red, and brown. There was no one that reached out to him anymore as he never answered the phone or reached out to anyone. His thoughts were like punches to his head and heart and body. He told himself he failed, no one needed him anymore, no one loved him, and he was doing everything wrong. The thoughts weighed so heavily on his body that his spine curved forward towards the ground. He could barely lift his eyes from the ground. Walking was an exhausting form of getting from one place to another. His body became frozen, not malleable to anyone’s touch.

It’s been so long ago now, that he can’t recall what exactly the catalyst that made him move was but he found himself on a bus to New Jersey. He did not end up there – that’s another story for another day – he ended up here, in Eden, and being here softened him. His spine was like a slinky again. His body was renewed. His joints and muscles could stretch and build, almost as if he was the Tin Man after Dorothy found the oil can to loosen him up. He is not dead and he did not grow younger. He still ages but his body can do things he never thought possible.

He moves like a sloth, almost statuesque until you realize that he is moving … imperceptibly.

He lives simply in a small tree house where, sometimes at four in the morning, the sound of the birds in the country fields sing loudly enough to wake him. He’s a mindful fellow – probably a guru of something…if he had followers but he is too much of a recluse for that now. Either way, you could learn a great deal about mindfulness meditation from him.

Every day at dawn, he wakes and stretches. Slowly.

For over an hour as the sun slowly wakes itself and stretches and yawns with the wood of his tree house and the birds of the trees,

he stretches.

After a breakfast from his silo of nuts and preserved berries, he begins his slow stroll to the greenhouses. By the speed of his movement, it is now midday as he reaches the first one.

The Very First greenhouse has weathered wood boards and beams, many of which have bowed due to the strains of weather, time, and rot. The weather exhausts the strength of the wood, time allows it to grow and change shape, and rot threatens to belittle the importance of the work that the wood is serving in protecting the tree inside. Some of the wood boards have even bent to allow ivy to weave and wrap its way around them on their journey from the ground to the greenhouse roof. Inside the greenhouse is one tree, its trunk so curved that it almost looks like it breaths as it slithers and coils into long, snake-like branches. One side of the tree seems soft and round, gentle if one were to touch it. The other side has knots and four corners that remind him of a man’s shoulders and the sturdy open stance of a military leader. This Tree has both feminine and masculine attributes. The man always visits this greenhouse first because he reveres the age of Knowledge. It takes an age to realize the knowledge you yourself have acquired. He nods at the Tree, recognizing its royalty as the Very First. He moves on, slowly, to the next greenhouse…

To be continued in Part II.

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