Sunday, August 27, 2017

Change in the air

Depending on where you live, you can sense a change in the air as we pass from summer to autumn. You don't have to look at a calendar. You can feel it. And the shift may be fairly sudden. 

When Adam and Eve were banished from the garden, there were some obvious consequences. They left behind the tree of life, thereby forfeiting their shot at physical immortality. Likewise, they moved to a far less hospitable environment. Perhaps an arid environment, away from the riverine setting of Eden. 

But to be exiled from Eden had more subtle connotations. I assume that many people associate gardens with spring and summer. For vegetable gardens, that's the growing season. For flower gardens, that's when most flowers bloom. And that's true in the wild, even if it's not technically an orchard or garden. So gardens have a seasonal connotation. And that also carries with it warmer, sunnier weather, when the world thaws out. 

By contrast, we associate winter with denuded trees. Fruitless trees. Chilly or frigid weather. In winter the world contracts. Of course, that's subject to geographical variations.

Some people prefer living in a part of the world with four distinct seasons. Some people like snowy weather. They like to ski.

People generally like autumn, when leaves turn red, yellow, and orange. And sometimes autumn can be a relief after a sweltering summer. Again, depends on where you live. But, of course, autumn is the prelude to winter.

In many parts of the world, the amenities of modern technology make winter much easier to take than in the past. Winter used to be a more dangerous season. Harder to survive in winter. Some American settlers froze to death or starved to death because they were not equipped for winter. They didn't know what they were moving into. Their experience was ill-adapted to their new environs. 

We don't know how long Adam and Eve resided in Eden before their expulsion. Even if they lived there for at least a year, the river might mitigate the effects of winter. And it was a naturally warm climate. 

Consider the first time they experienced autumn outside the garden. To them, it may have been deceptively enjoyable, with all the colors. And perhaps the cooler autumnal weather was pleasant. 

But unlike us, they didn't know that autumn is a harbinger of winter, or what lay in store. In many cultures, winter symbolizes death. And that symbolism trades on the fact that winter is a deadlier season. If you do not or cannot make adequate preparations for winter, you are likely to die of starvation or exposure. In addition, major predators are more desperate in the wintertime, which makes them even more dangerous to humans.

In a hot dry climate, the fall might seem to be a temporary improvement, but even though things appear to be getting better, they are really getting worse. And some people don't get a chance to learn from their mistakes.

The effects of their expulsion from Eden were not instantaneous. Rather, there were delayed effects. They discovered one ordeal after another. 

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