We walked together in the cool of the day. There was no one tree of knowledge. There were no apples to offer one another. But paradise? Undeniably.
When we approached the streambed to admire the perennial yellow and purple irises that have naturalized there, we heard the rustle of a serpent in the dry leaves nearby.
Tomorrow is Palm Sunday. Holy week: the crescendo call to discernment; siren song of new beginnings. Here in the piney woods of Northwest Florida there is always a coolness to this week's air; welcome retreat to a leafy glade before the pitiless summer's assault.
A California chef on walk-about would most likely scoop them into her basket as salad garnish.
The young longleaf pines here were either grown in a nursery, lifted in tubular form so that their roots were intact, cushioned with sod, and hand planted at random with dibbles, or they are volunteers springing up from the old mother trees.
What we're about is to try to recreate what was here 50 or more years ago – an old growth forest of longleaf pines and wiregrass, with some mixed hardwoods and berries.
Don Quixote would be quite at home in this small preserve, sloshing about the wet areas in his handsome Spanish boots.
The construct of Eden in my mind is one in which the accent is on miraculous abundance, not on the price exacted for rule-breaking.
But then, my view is at ground level. Other beings dwell in the sky box.