Sunday, April 1, 2012

A to Z Challenge: Day 1/Letter A

From this point on, the next 26 blog-posts of The Basement Window will be a departure from the list of "ingredients" that has fed its inspiration thus far.  I will, without doubt, return to that list.  But, for the month of April, I turn my attention to another list of sorts: the alphabet.  Thousands of bloggers will be doing this very same thing as we each attempt the A to Z Blog Challenge, whereby we will blog about subject matter that corresponds with each day's letter.  Today, April 1st -day one- presents the letter A to be conquered.  And I say, on this day, that "A is for APPLE." 
That's right.  Apple.  That sweet, supple fruit whose crunch is as appealing as its taste.  The Apple: a food product that -"in the beginning"- held more sway over mankind than the words of God.  The serpent could have offered Adam and Eve anything from the fruits and veggies category (it was a garden, after all; and further, it was "paradise."  Wasn't it?), but it was the apple that the wryly, ornery snake presented as the ultimate temptation.  Why?  Because it was the apple, of course, that grew from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  Duh.  So, in honor of all the apple cobblers and pies of the world, I am making a recall on the apple's biblical notoriety, because the real issue is not -was not ever, in fact- the fruit itself so much as the tree from which it sprung.  But, is the inquiry of this blog whether or not the apple deserves absolution from the pope, or is the real question...
Do Adam and Eve deserve not only pardon, but celebration for having the courage to take that first legendary bite of...Life?  Did the presentation of the fruit -the apple- present us with the chance to be both teacher and student?
**Now would be a good time to insert a side note: this blog is not an attempt to unravel the testament of Christianity's version of the beginning of the human condition.  It is, however, meant to serve as an expansion to it: an expansion of thought and possibility.**
From the moment we take our very first breath on this earth, we begin absorbing knowledge.  We may not yet have the words to describe the sensory explosion that immediately follows that first breath, but really, we don't need words at that time, because ultimately words exist solely for the service of others anyway, but THAT is all ours, and the moment of our birth is just for us, too: an awakening to the experience of the knowledge of good and evil.  An awakening to life.  As infants, we process and sort through our experiences in a very basic way: pain and comfort.  That's it.  And without having to understand a single word of any spoken language, we know the difference between the two, because one is what the other is not.  And life carries on that way.  We gather new knowledge based on how it compares to the knowledge we already hold, because one cannot just live in acceptance of the good without also waking to the bad - the "evil" - of the world. Everything is relative to something else. Without its comparable counterpart, we just simply cannot know a thing. 
But, as we grow, so does our range of experiences, and suddenly what was so instinctively black and white is now coated in layers of grey.  We begin reaching out for ways to properly categorize the innumerable influences in and of life.  I believe that there are two ways to make discoveries in life: 1) We can let someone else do the defining for us, thereby taking their information as the whole truth and then applying it - without question - to the thing for which we seek definition, or 2) We can live. We can live life as it was meant to be lived. We can learn from personal experience that where there is no heat, there will be a chill; where there is no light, there will be darkness; where there is no action, there is inaction; where there is no truth, it is somewhere other than where we are in that moment. To know that something is absent, we must first know its presence, yet to know how to define something as present, we must also have experienced absence.  In short, there can be no knowledge of "good" without knowledge of "evil."  And, with each side of a coin comes individual perspective, but the true beauty of knowledge of all kinds is that we are free to do with it as we please.
I suppose the next question begs to determine if God created us to be static or vital.  Was "paradise" really meant to be a state of blind and unchanging existence?  Because, let's face it: the only way we can change is through knowledge. OR is it more logical -more loving, even- to believe that we have been presented with the choice of leaving "paradise" -with the promise to one day return- so that we may receive the gift and experience of remembering all that we have chosen to forget?  Maybe...just maybe...after that first breath in infancy (the bite of the apple), we set out to seek the knowledge that "paradise" is really the Home for which we all strive; that place in which rest and rejuvenation can be found.  And how could we possibly know rest without first knowing unrest?