When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked.
Throughout August I was on the prowl for a lonely apple tree in the city. I found it in the yard a couple of houses down from my friend’s place. A house with nobody home and up for sale – leaving the apples for the birds and the worms. I dialed the number to the owners who were surprised at my call and happy to grant me picking rights. On Monday I climbed the tree and shook the full hanging branches packed with crabapples and they fell like fat red rain drops to the soft ground.
Apple picking and heartache have me feeling all Eve these days. She and I are sisters this week, as I retrace the steps of the past four months and think back to that rainy day when I stumbled into his world. He was the most beautiful person I had laid eyes on in a long, long while – his skinny crooked fingers and dark serious features and all. He had a good heart and our hearts were well matched. There was something easy about being with him. Something well worn and soft and quiet. Falling in love was fast – I ran home in the rain two hours later with him still ringing in my ears. I sensed it was fated to be an impossible situation. But I went on loving, anyways – the cautionary lines drawn up with side-walk chalk washed away in the rain and my desire to feel a healthy and pure intimacy again.
Then came the fall. The feeling of being reminded who you were before you loved and were loved by another in a real and beautiful way. Without love, we are just led by ignorance or complacency or anger or sadness or nothingness, and the unknowing makes it all plain and steady and bearable. I see that now.
Eve also saw her own nakedness when she bit into the apple. Is that so bad? Who says she did it out of temptation? Greed? Foolery? What would she say if she could rewrite her own story? I wanted to know in a way I had never known before. And what I found was beyond anticipation, expectation, imagination.
Love poured out of my hands tonight as I sliced and simmered the whole apples in silver pots on the stove top. The whole place steamed up, all syrupy. I strained the fleshy pulp for juice, sweetened with raspberries, and blended the apples – seeds, stems and all – to make into dried fruit leather and apple sauce, feeling strangely satisfied at the fruits of my labor and not having to throw anything away.
Falling, tonight, feels like flying.