I’ve been thinking a lot about paradise, lately.
The weather has slipped into my most favorite of seasons. The world is absolutely pulsating with life. Flowers spill out of tall grasses along roadsides, while the trees on all the mountains shimmer a lacquered golden-green. The sun shines most days, and when it doesn’t, the rain comes down warm, bringing plump droplets that cling to all of the leaves and blossoms.
I can drink in the balmy air through my skin, soaking up the happiness and moisture and feeling continually refreshed. It seems like all the greenery is breathing back huge quantities of oxygen towards me, and I take it all into my lungs in deep breaths, until I feel almost intoxicated from its volume filling me and nourishing my own living cells.
The summer fruits are ripe and sweet, and I eat them as though they were fat jewels, spilling juice onto my fingers. The strawberries and cherries blush to their deepest shades, while white nectarines have swelled to their dappled tightest, pregnant with delicate juices.
The rains fall soft but persistent, cooling the grounds and forcing a light steam to rise from the earth, carrying thick, palpable breezes that drift in through windows and between houses, cool and sticky, caressing me with mists.
The flowers are my favorites–orange tiger-lilies, trumpeting in their slender glory; thick clusters of rose petals, folded one over another and unfurling into spiraled cushions of dark pink and dusty yellow; dogwood blossoms wreathing the branches of trees in fragile snowy bundles. They are a feast for my eyes, and I devour them insatiably.
Maggie said to me, a couple of weeks ago, “I wish I was in a garden. We were all meant to just live in a garden.”
She was talking about the Garden of Eden, and how this was the place made especially for humans to live in paradise. It makes perfect sense to me–what joy it would be to spend all my mornings lounging in sunshine or the shade of lush trees, sleeping midday by the steady waters of cool streams, filling my belly to ripeness with fresh, sweet fruit, and surrounding my head ever with fragrant heaps of crowning flowers.
I luxuriate in these offerings of the world. I find the deepest appreciation for the most natural of things–obvious and abundant, well-worn tunes of the original, primitive beauty, archetypes of all the things that humans find most pleasing to our senses.
I’d like to believe that humans’ rightful place is in a garden paradise–I’d like to think that our most basic objective is to simply enjoy beautiful things, to relax, to have other humans nearby to love and share in the appreciation of all the offerings of living art. That all we must do is be fruitful and multiply, mimicking the plentifulness our surroundings and creating more beautiful creatures to share our love and our world with.
I could break the spell of this beautiful dream by enumerating the present sorrows of mankind, or by speculating metaphorically about what it means that, in the myth, humans had to leave the garden–but I won’t do that right now.
Because it’s a glorious summer, and somewhere written inside of me in that fantastically lyrical medium called the human genetic code, I remember that my most basic purpose as a human being is to enjoy it all.