We’re waiting now. The last few rays of direct sunlight are filtering through the trees behind us. Already the grass is dew-soaked. The whippoorwill begins his sweet call. I always liked it before, now it just sounds lonely. Perhaps he knows. Behind me, a large cat slips unseen through the dense vegetation. Yesterday he was my companion at the river. Today his presence sends a new sensation through me. My husband named him—perhaps he can also name this new feeling. (I would call it fear).
Another presence was with us today. At first, he seemed like light itself. He talked to us. Told us we could be like Creator God. He saw me gazing on the tree the Creator said to leave alone. I was content to just see it, to wonder about its mystery. But he put questions in my mind, things that I had never considered. He said that we could be like Him. I wanted to be like Him. I wanted to see the grasses part before me, wanted to see the animals bow down in my presence. Even the rocks seem to sing when He’s around. I wanted to know how to make the dew appear, where the fish in the river hide at night, why there are so many different shades of green.
I reached toward the tree. It seemed to shimmer before me, not like the other trees whose fruit I enjoy and take for granted. It was different, and I wanted it.
“But he said I would die,” I murmured. The presence before me wavered. For just a second I thought I saw something dark and laughing below the surface of its beauty.
”Did he really?” It asked. “Perhaps not,” I replied. (After all, He would not really withhold any good thing from us, would He?) I stretched forth my arm, grasping a single piece of fruit. My hand burned briefly. Weighing its solid goodness in my hand, I brought it to my mouth. The smell was pungent, the taste held every taste. I offered it to my husband, and as he took a bite, the fruit in my mouth became over-ripe, then bitter. I looked around, but the presence was gone. In its place were many things I’d never felt before: the thing I called fear, a feeling of deep sadness and regret, and an overwhelming sense of loss.
When he left, I knew that I was naked. “We must cover ourselves” I told my husband. I grabbed fronds from the large palms around us, and swiftly wove them together into a form of garment.
“He’ll be here soon,” my man said. “This is the time of day He always comes.”
“We must hide,” I said. “He will not like what we have done.”
We sit close together now, in a small cave near the river. There is not the feeling of closeness we’ve always had. Instead we are co-conspirators. The sun slips further down behind the trees. We feel a stirring in our stomachs, but it is not hunger. It is another new sensation, and I know now that there are too many new things: too many new emotions, and too many changes. For some reason, the animals do not join us tonight and I miss their silent friendship. I do not worry about the lack of hunger. Somehow I think that we would not be satisfied with the fruit around us anymore.
I lay my head on the man’s shoulder and weep. Not for the joy of the morning, or the way the light looks when it sparkles on the river, or the inexpressible feeling of being in Creator God’s presence.