Drew T. Noll © 2022, all rights reserved

Thursday, December 20, 2007

If a tree falls in the forest…

Long ago, in a time before there was time, there was a garden. This was no ordinary garden mind you; it was a very, very special garden indeed. This was the first garden that was ever created and it was done so in an otherwise barren wilderness. There was nothing anywhere else in the whole universe, accept one thing. And that thing was (and is) so big, so large, and so timeless, that I could never use words and language to describe it. It is a thing that we have come to call by many names and all are Holy with a capital ‘H’. So, not to labor the point too much however, this story starts in a place that can only be described as everything and nothing at the same time. The ‘everything’ comes from what we see today… everything that is always all around us to see, hear, smell, feel, and whatever. And the ‘nothing’ you ask? The ‘nothing’ is also everything around us. The ‘nothing’ is something that we can not see or hear or feel. Sometimes if we are lucky we get a whiff of it though. It smells like something familiar, something wonderful. It smells like we know what it is, if for just a moment, before it disappears into our justifications and explanations of the world around us… you know, the one we can see and hear and feel and yes, sometimes even think we can smell.

There was a time, well that isn’t exactly the word for it… maybe a better way to describe it is an infinite instant, that in this very special garden, before it was or could be tended by any… person, every single plant had never existed, ceased to grow, grown to its mature height, and spread across the universe as if Moshiach had already come. Every tree was just a want-to-be seed as well as resplendent with fruit. It was an instant where everything in the universe was only possible but at the same time, was complete and in this instant, in this garden of gardens, a tree fell. Some have said that this occurred as a result of a forest creature that, because of its treachery, was destined to slither for all eternity. Others say that it was because of the concept of free will or because of something lurking in the world today, the evil inclination, that this occurred, and still others say that it was because of something all together different. These ‘others’ say that is was because ‘we’ needed to see the tree fall. ‘We’ needed to know that there was once a place that was so perfect that it needed to be hidden at the end of a curvy and unseen path and guarded by something that might have looked like General Grievous from the Star Wars movies.

We didn’t witness this tree of trees’ fall with any of our senses and yet, we know that it fell. We can see the results of its calamitous plunge throughout our lives and still we ask ourselves the simple question, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to witness it, did it really fall?” of course it did! Look around already… or at least take a whiff. You might catch a scent of that ancient and, at the same time, imminent tree; that tree of everything and at exactly the same time, that tree of absolute nothingness in a garden where nothing is as it seems, and the ‘nothing’ is really ‘everything’.

Shabbat Shalom Kulam!