Monday, February 08, 2010
To know the place for the first time
Learning through care
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
T. S. Eliot (Four Quartets)
Eden did not require care, so in choosing death over imperishable bliss, Eve was choosing to be human--to be a planter and a cultivator, to watch and labor in a place where there was a need for care. Her tasting the forbidden fruit may have been done in a desire to make the fruit real.
So her descendants labor outside the garden, catching glimpses of an imperishable beauty that we experience almost as nostalgia. Through care we learn what beauty is really, and how much of a gift it is, really. Through care, we learn to have a human heart.
“What we lost through [Eve’s] act of transgression we never really possessed, for without a human heart in its midst, Eden was wasted on us,” Robert Pogue Harrison observes. “Yet the mortal earth into which we fell was not.”
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© 2010 Michael L. Umphrey