that were pleasing to the eye and good for food…. God took the man
and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”
Genesis 2:9, 15 (NIV)
Many people believe that the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is merely myth. As a nature lover and tree-hugger, I find it quite credible.
The wooded area behind my house is my Garden of Eden—the sacred place where I walk pensively with my Creator. And yet, this small area of woods vividly represents our fallen world—the garden after Adam and Eve sinned.
The forest landscape is scarred by timber harvesting of oak, walnut, cherry, elm and sycamore trees. In the meadow, beneath towering poles hung with heavy wires, the wildlife habitat is like a war zone. Viable trees, shrubs, grasses and wild flowers were ripped from the ground by heavy equipment to clear and widen the easement.
Before the devastation, there was a trodden path that meandered through the trees and meadow, connecting to another well-worn trail that hugs the banks of the White River. The river trail used to be passable, but now, much of the path is strewn with crowns, severed from their trunks and left to wither and decay.
Beneath these fallen crowns are younger trees, their spindly, supple trunks bent low to the ground under the dead weight of expired elders. The crowning glory of foliage sweeps the forest floor, wildflowers interwoven with the branches, like a grapevine wreath strung with anemone, violets, bluebells, mayapple, asters, spring beauty, toadshade, daisies…
I miss my leisurely walks along the riverbank. Climbing through the dying crowns is like trudging through the wreckage of a tornado. It is difficult to recognize—or visualize— what once was. Now I must clamber over immense trunks and climb through a maze of branches. The spirits of the trees whisper among themselves in the breeze as I wend my way through the tombstones of their cemetery.
Recently, a friend said, “the land has a way of recovering on it’s own.” Yes, and no. I wonder how many critters have fled to quieter meadows and woods, safe from bulldozers. Those one-hundred-plus-year-old trees are goners; it will take as many years for saplings to reach heights necessary to recreate the canopy. I’ll be fodder for trees by then.
Even though I must resign myself to the victimization of the woods, it remains my sanctuary. Just as I now walk with God through the havoc of the woods, so I must walk with God through the turmoil of my life. With God’s help I weave my way through this fallen world and he weaves a floral wreath of promises to care for me, no matter what befalls me.
Genesis 28:15 (NIV)
I am with you always.
Matthew 28:20 (NIV)