I’m not a superstitious person. I’m not tied to any faith in particular (or any faith at all). I don’t worry about sin and penitence. I worry less about judgment. I don’t even believe in fairies. But I do love a good fairy tale. There is much to learn from myth and legend.
As my family explored the apple orchard this weekend we listened to the farmer’s rules: Stay on the path. Don’t pick those. Pick these. Follow the signs. All good and understandable rules from a farmer who is trying to keep things alive and growing year after year. I can respect that.
So we followed the paths. We walked through the orchard with every intention of being good stewards of his–the farmer’s–land.
We found an apple variety we liked. Red. Sweet. Firm. Juicy. Ripe.
We filled our bags carefully. We moved from tree to tree searching for the apples that called to us. We liked them small so we could enjoy a whole apple in one sitting without feeling like we’d had too much. We liked them with a hint of green so the tartness would balance out the sweetness. We liked them unblemished but still imperfect. Grab that one. Who else will choose such a strangely formed apple? We were suckers for the misshapen apples.
As we walked through our chosen apple trees we stumbled upon a tree that looked out of place. It wasn’t necessarily forbidden. It had no Do Not Eat signs. It wasn’t protected by a serpent nor did it appear to be poisoned by a wicked witch.
But it was not the same as the other trees.
This tree, this out of place tree, was twice as tall with branches twice as thick. The branches were weighed down with enormous red and green apples. The children could not resist. We could not resist. We had to know. What makes these apples different? Will they be sweet or tart? If we take a bite will the juices drip down our chins? Or will it be dry and mealy and unworthy of our attention? Are these apples merely a distraction from the apples we already carry with us?
Pull. Twist. Pop.
I held the mammoth apple in my hand and took a bite. I passed it to my husband. Crunch. He passed it to our children. Crunch. Crunch.
Delicious. Different. Decadent, if only because it seemed a bit taboo.
Lightning did not strike us down. We weren’t suddenly aware of our nakedness (not that we were unclothed at the orchard).We weren’t asked to leave (again, NOT naked). I didn’t fall into a deep sleep nor was I placed in a glass coffin in the nearby woods. No one locked us in a tall tower and demanded we grow our hair to unimaginable lengths. But we knew more than we did before and that was the goal all along.
We grabbed a few more apples off the tree and placed them in our bag. And then we went back to collecting our small red apples. Grinning all the while.
That little taste of the unexpected left us giddy and curious for the rest of the day. That’s what eating from the Tree of Knowledge will do for you. I highly recommend it.