Our Eden

This Friday post is a brief excerpt, almost poem-like,
from
East of Eden one of my favorite books
of all time and that no doubt,
speaks about place - whether it is the landscape of the terrain
or the geography of the heart.

Steinbeck's sentences are like the gentle rolling hills
found all over in the San Francisco area.
His California landscape is goregous, too,
no matter how barren and dry and empty she may be.

Reading this book, amongst others, has helped me identify
and connect with California
in a way that only a pioneer, a newcomer can know. 

But this story, also illuminates a larger story we are in - and of course,
I resonate with that one too - no matter how arid the season or soil may be.
Therefore, I also include
other visual and prayerful meditations along with the quote.

Enjoy and happy Friday.

With love,
Jessie

The Apprentice, Georges Rouault Oil   1925


The Apprentice, Georges Rouault
Oil   1925

Samuel said, "Apply that to the Cain-Abel story."

And Adam said, "I didn't kill my brother -" Suddenly he stopped and his mind went reeling back in time.

"I think I can," Lee answered Samuel.  "I think this is the best-known story in the world because it is everybody's story.  I think it is the symbol story of the human soul.  I'm feeling my way now - don't jump on me if I'm not clear.  The greatest terror a child can have is that he is not loved, and rejection is the hell he fears.  I think everyone in the world to a large or small extent has felt rejection.  And with rejection comes anger, and with anger some kind of crime in revenge for the rejection, and with the crime guilt - and there is the story of mankind.  I think that if rejection could be amputated, the human would not be what he is.  Maybe there would be fewer crazy people.  I am sure in myself there would not be many jails.  It is all there - the start, the beginning.  One child, refused the love he craves, kicks the cat and hides his secret guilt; and another steals so that money will make him loved; and a third conquers the world - and always the guilt and revenge and more guilt.  The human is the only guilty animal.  Now wait!  Therefore I think this old and terrible story is important because it is a chart of the soul - the secret, rejected, guilty soul.  Mr. Trask, you said you did not kill your brother and then  you remembered something.  I don't want to know what it is, but was it very far apart from Cain and Abel?  And what do you think of my Oriental patter, Mr. Hamilton?  You know I am no more Oriental that you are."

Samuel had leaned his elbows on the table and his hands covered his eyes and forehead.  "I want to think," he said.  "Damn you, I want to think.  I'll want to take this off alone where I can pick it apart and see.  Maybe you've tumbled a world for me.  And I don't know what I can build in my world's place."

Lee said softly, "Couldn't a world be built around accepted truth?  Couldn't some pains and insanities be rooted out if the causes were known?"

- An excerpt from East of Eden by John Steinbeck, pp 271-272.

Memory of the Garden of Eden, Vincent Van Gogh Oil on canvas   1888


Memory of the Garden of Eden, Vincent Van Gogh
Oil on canvas   1888

Garden of Eden, Marc Chagall Original Color Lithograph, 1960


Garden of Eden, Marc Chagall
Original Color Lithograph, 1960

Lord, heal our broken land and wounded hearts.