of trees

I contend with the swift fall of pollen on a coffee shop porch: tiny, green-yellow blossoms littering everything.  Ill-advised, probably, for my laptop, but inside was cold, and I felt lonely there.  Here I have the company of passing cars, the students two tables away from me, the swift-working wind which obliges me to upturn the computer every so often to dump the tiny blossoms from between the keys.

I’m writing of life-giving trees today: the tree that bore the golden apples in the Garden of the Hesperides, the tree whose golden bough gave Aeneas safe passage through the underworld; the tree in Revelation, with healing for the nations in its leaves. It seems appropriate to sit, then, in this golden shower.

And there’s that other tree, of which I also write today, where the Lamb of God was slain for the salvation of the world.  That tree, too, came as a consequence of sin involving another tree, which was a delight to the eyes with fruit desirable to make one wise.

Barred, with flaming swords, from that garden, we’ve written trees of life ever since, dreaming the remedy to the sure death which arrived with the flavor of that fruit on Eve’s tongue. But we wrote them beautiful, wrapped them in magic, thought they’d be hard to reach, surely, but lovely when found, dropping down gold on the fortunate ones who earned entry behind the flaming swords.

We did not dream the rough, splintering wood, the nails, the blood dropping down, as the only One who did not earn this tree tasted the fruit of our sinning. We did not dream that the fruit of the tree which brings life would taste like death.

And so the garden has again been opened to us, the threat of flames removed, the way made for the nations to reach the healing leaves beside the river of the water of life. And we have been bidden to come.

Not to sneak about looking for a hole in the wall, not to worry that there may be pollen-green flowers stuck in our hair, not wait until we’ve written pages enough to deserve it: simply to come, because we are thirsty, lonely, cold, and to drink, and to live.

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