Another evening has come and gone. Even the darkness holds peace in this place. I never knew such perfection was possible. Yet, here I am, in the middle of it all standing as one who belongs.
Everyone is at ease here, no matter what time of day or night. Serenity is the reigning king and joy is the song we sing. No one is excluded from this place. Only welcomed and acknowledged as a unique creation.
There is one that quenches my peace, though. His nearness causes my insides to shake. The very presence of him is enough to make me loose my breath. There is something so wrong about him. I feel it.
No. Not again.
He's near me, just as before. Everything in me longs to cry out in warning to those near me, though I'm not sure why. The animals around me continue playing without care. Flowers dance to the rhythm of life. Trees of every shade and color continue drinking in the warmth of the sun above. Even the "innocents" seem oblivious to the foreboding that surrounds him.
I can only stand and wait. Hoping that he will leave soon and go back to wherever he came from. This time, his steps are purposeful. Definite. Unlike other days, I sense his evil intent as he sees the "innocents" coming his way.
Go away! Get away from here. You shouldn't be here!
The "innocents" are looking for food and he knows it. They aren't supposed to be here, but they keep walking toward me. The evil one catches the lovely one's eye and motions for her to come near him. He speaks in little more than a whisper, yet I hear every word.
"Did God really tell you not to eat from any tree in the garden'?"
The lovely one replied, "We can eat any fruit we desire, except from this tree, here. Our Father has said if we eat from this tree or touch it, that we will die!"
"You're not going to die! Your Father knows that when you eat it that you'll see life as he does. You will even know what is good and what is evil."
My secret! She knows my secret! Her Father must be informed at once! What should I do? She cannot be allowed to eat from my branches! She cannot! She must not!
I feel as if life is being taken from me as I watch her eat the fruit I've bore. She can't seem to stop herself. It's more than her mate can bear. So, she offers him the fruit of my branches and he too falls short. Suddenly without warning, the "innocents" faces are filled with fear. As they look upon themselves, they turn their backs to one another and separate. They rip leaves from the branches of the trees surrounding me and make covering for themselves. Just as they finish, their Father appears near me.
"Where are you," their Father questioned.
The man answered, "I heard you walking, but I was afraid because I'm naked. So, I hid."
"Did someone tell you that you were naked," he asked with great concern. "You haven't eaten from this tree, have you?"
"The woman you gave me handed me some fruit and I ate it."
The Father said to the woman, "What have you done?"
The woman said, "The snake lied to me and I ate the fruit!"
The smile that their Father displayed to greet the "innocents" was gone now. They had made their choice and all of us understood the repercussions. Their Father had no choice but to release them from this place until a way of re-entry could be provided for them.
As they walk away, the Father turns from his children. His tears wet the ground beneath me as he leans against my trunk for support. He can barely stand as grief wracks his body. The Father's eyes glance up as his Son comes to his side.
The silence that fills this place is no longer serene. It's mournful and desolate. The Father has lost his children and every creature feels his grief.
"Son," the Father whispers through his tears.
"We must find a way to get them back. They are….they are my very heart."
"I know, Father."
"You'll help me bring them back, won't you?"
"Of course, I will, Father. Of course, I will."
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