Livin’ Eden

Right in the midst of early Covid hysteria, I bought a blowup hot tub in spring 2020 at a 100% markup compared to the price a month earlier. Even so, it was a good investment, and I’ve gotten my money’s worth, which is more than I can claim for most 3 figure (or more) purchases. I tend to make the best use of it on Saturdays when I don’t have anything to rush to, and such was the case one bright July morning that summer. As I soaked, relaxed, head back, gazing up at the sky, I was struck by the contrast of the tall maples’ vibrant green leaves against the perfectly clear deep blue sky, and red flowers pouring over the hedge from a tree in the next yard. I stopped and noticed flying insects buzzing around the red flowers, solely focused on their presence, and perceived joyful tones in the birds chirping – so many, and so loud. I realized as I was appreciating it all that just seconds before – though equally present and real – none of it had even registered in my preoccupation in swirling thoughts. What a waste! Why did I let myself get so distracted by worries, ego-driven scripts about conversations I did not – and will never – have, so many what if’s and if only’s? For some reason Genesis, the Adam and Eve story, came to me that morning as an analogy of the experience: 

So there they are with everything and more in that beautiful garden – perfectly overly accommodated – and what happens? They wreck it all with their own head spinning, their own what if/if onlys, “Hmm, why should He not want us to eat that apple? Maybe we need that…” Sitting there soaking in my hot tub, I decided to start to live the lesson. All I needed in that moment was in front of me, there to enjoy and appreciate. I leaned back, smiled to the point of giggling at the lovely bird noise, registered the color contrasts around me, and tuned into the light and large feeling in my heart, I thought, “Thank you! This is real right here – Living Eden! I’m going to make myself get good at this. …”

Well, I can’t claim to have incorporated the lesson fully almost a year and a half later. After all, I’ve got a lot to stress over, and plenty of distraction to take on and deal with. But just this past Saturday, I did go outside to enjoy a crisp fall Saturday morning soak in the hot tub. I got in and noticed leaves floating around, so I cleaned them out. I noted adjustments needed on the pump and checked the chlorine. I turned on the bubbles to stir things around so I could use the skimmer to catch the debris I noticed, and let out water to bring it precisely to the right level… Then I stopped myself – these are not the things the hot tub is intended for…. I sat back, took a deep breath… and I remembered an email I should have sent, and issues needing follow up at work… but out of the corner of my eye (and my distracted brain) I caught the movement in a high oak tree of a bird hopping from one branch to another…

And then I stopped for real. … I became newly aware of the beautiful loud music of so many birds around me. I chuckled watching squirrels running up and down tree trucks, jumping to and from twigs as thin as dried angel hair, all 150 feet above my head. I registered the fall light, struck by the beauty of the yellow maple leaves and red oaks against the blue sky background. … and I remembered “Living Eden,” and I stopped and let myself feel filled and happy … and  before letting the distracting thoughts sneak in, I reminded myself that rather than all the spinning in my head, this here in front of me is what is real. 

Back in the house, a couple of hours later, I was alone in the kitchen when a muffled moan from behind a closed door upstairs summoned me. Fortunately (I guess), it was repeated louder. “Mooom! What can I eat? Can you make me something?” … Heavy sigh. I made breakfast for my teenage lastborn, and called him down. He entered the kitchen tousled and sleepy. 

“Wow, look at that. The light is so nice outside.” He observed. I looked out, noted and appreciated it (for real), and then looked back at him. I registered (and smiled at) his amazing curls; and aware again of that same large feeling in my heart, I offered up mental “Thank you – this here is what’s real,” and felt very happy. 

Happy Thanksgiving. May you notice and feel joy in the blessings that surround you this week!

From left: Jude, his God-sister Katie, Adam, and Kit registering fall’s beauty on top of the Sleeping Giant mountain in 2013

8 thoughts on “Livin’ Eden

  1. Thank you very much for all your hard-won wisdom, Naomi! At this time of thanks, we are grateful for you, and for getting to know your dear Adam through your courageous and insightful book. His kindness will be long-remembered, and his memory will never fade.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. …
      This morning I’m even more grateful for the boy with tousled curls, who not only got out of bed to help his good ol’ mom, but scaled the door to get up above the closets in my room (so I wouldn’t need to go to the garage for a ladder) to disconnect the fire detector that started beeping at 4:45am). Happy Thanksgiving! 💜


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