The walking week: E

E FOR… Eden, evolution, and eternity.

I’ve always struggled to understand the mixed messages of The Book of Genesis: don’t touch the apples or you’ll become sexually aware, which is sinful; however, you’re also charged to be fruitful, and multiply. Tricky.

The winter-dormant sap stirs: catkins, buds and the first shoots of fruitfulness on twig-end and under foot. Grey, arid leaves tire of long, pointless meetings. Ducks fuss in the stream, which continues to fall. There’s talk of a drought.

The two koala bears on my desk – formerly key-ring adornments – are ready to be released into the wild. I’ve removed the bibs advertising Australia and combed their fur. They won’t be required to multiply.

“We’ve got it all wrong,” a friend once suggested. “Paradise is here, now, not waiting for us in some after-life. Look at it: a world teeming with life, with beauty, with everything we need. And what have we done to it? Should be ashamed of ourselves.”

Taken the ‘have dominion over’ too literally, methinks.

Often now, I wander wider: over the bridge, out to the sheep-expectant meadows, to where sluice-gates control the stream-flow and old town meets new. The grander cottages here are date-stamped, the stone barefaced, the gables dark as witches’ hats.

Everything evolves. Each day can be a year, each week an age. We are but temporary residents.

Am looking for a nook for the cheeky frog: a miniature caricature who’s been idling round the house, resting on an elbow, for far too long.

Benches dot the avenue of trees. It’s warm enough for a dog-walker to spread his newspaper; women with push-chairs pause for a natter; a girl with hennaed hair sits astride the lap of her boyfriend: young lovers breaking for lunch, kissing under the watchful rowan’s bough, playing Eve and Adam.

“Always there, those two,” observes another passing student, to friends, perhaps envying those nibbling the wholesome flesh of temptation, sucking on the apple-sweetness, as life always has.

And forever will.



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