On Returning to the Hills of Home
January 29, 2014
A VG Serial: Hills of Eden
In ancient times, according to my friend Zachariah Sitchin, author of The Earth Chronicles, when human civilization began in Sumer, the Shi’nar of the Bible, the gods created the Adamu, first man, whom we came to call Adam. Adam was given a helpmeet, Eve, and they were placed in a region the Sumerians called the Edin. This was a paradise on earth, a garden full of fruit-bearing trees, edible plants and a host of creatures that roamed the lush landscape and drank from the pure waters of the streams. It was a land between the two rivers, The Tigris and the Euphrates.
We know the Edin by another name now.
Adam and Eve were exiled from Eden because they ate fruit from a forbidden tree. They were driven from paradise and made to live in a far more dangerous world.
So, buried deep in our consciousness, is our desire to return to that pristine land called Eden. Over centuries of strife and warfare, man has sought a return to that Eden from whence he came, the paradise that was denied him. So, he searched the world over and discovered new lands and claimed them, fought over them and lived in them, and on them.
And always, these explorers were pursuing a dream, a lost memory of a paradise where green hills rose above the land and where rivers and creeks flowed and wild creatures dwelled in harmony and peace, a place where birds sang and fishes swam, and there were glorious sunrises and sunsets to mark each magnificent day.
Of course, Paradise is an illusion, and Eden only a dim memory buried deep in the collective subconscious of the human mind. But, consciousness is a universal gift and allows us to seek and find an Eden once again. When we first came into the Ozarks, it was spring and the dogwoods and redbuds were in bloom. We saw their bright lamps glowing in the green hills and felt that we were coming home. In fact, we were just passing through to see friends from California on our way to Minnesota. We never made it that far. We came into the hills of Eden and the hills came into us.
We discovered the mystical mornings when fog nestled in the hollows and caressed the cedars and pines, the lakes and creeks that swarmed with fish, the peace that lay at the end of every homely country road, the people who seemed to hold secrets that existed beyond time because the hills had changed them as they had changed their ancestors. They seemed to share an intimacy with the land that was beyond our comprehension until we planted our own garden and walked their fields and sat on their porches listening to the soft voices of the old-timers as they shared their bread and memories with us.
We found a new Eden in this land of hills and hollows, in the wild mushrooms that grew in the forest and were as elusive as elves. We found many things. We found ourselves just as those first Tennesseans had back in the 1930s when they searched for a tranquil homeland.
There is a peace and serenity in these hills of home, places where you can go and find perfect tranquility. The experience can be, and most often is, spiritual. If there is a bond between man and his planet, it is formed in those quiet moments when he gazes on a solemn sunset or listens to the whisper of the wind in the trees, or sits by a glass-still pond with a line in the water and hears the croak of frogs, the saw-buzz of insects in the waving grasses.
There is a special allure to the Ozarks that is profound, mystical, and mysterious. No words can explain this attraction, but I think it has something to do with man’s longing for a spiritual union with his true home, the universe itself. Man has always ventured beyond his home in a quest for knowledge, and this movement is almost always westward, toward the setting sun, that grand golden beacon in the sky that represents energy, warmth, immortality.
We ask of ourselves, always, three prime questions: Who are we? Where did we come from? Where are we going? And, when we venture beyond the boundaries of our birthplace, we are in search of the answers to these questions.
Life, we find, is not just one thing, but consists of many small moments, many incidents that, over time, form a tapestry of where we have come from and who we are and, ultimately, where we are headed. Often, we find that we may have missed some important moments and there is a poignant feeling of loss.
There is a richness to life and a grandness to living that transcends explanation. All we can do, most of the time, is enjoy those fleeting moments of bliss and happiness that we find along the path of our journey.
In these pages, some moments are portrayed through the eyes of a single person who may represent generations of humans who came into the gentle hills of a place and found homes, not just physical structures, but places where the heart finds nurture and contentment and harmony.
And in time, these hills become all the hills of the world and the universe. In morning mist and evening shadow, they seem to live a permanence and a meaning to a life that is ephemeral. And then, they do not seem real at all, but only some divine creation that exists for but a single moment in time and so becomes timeless, eternal. Our minds know different, but our hearts believe that all the good parts of life are lived in a single moment of incredible beauty, when the hills form both barriers and vistas, when they hold us safe from harm, and protect us from outside invasions, but at the same time, they beckon as boundaries to be climbed and crossed, so that we may glimpse the world beyond and beyond and beyond.
But, always, we return to the hills of home, in life or in spirit, and so it seems that they are always there, and always will be there, in memory or in fact. And, if those hills were ever gone, we would not know what to do or where to go. So they are there, always, and we can go to them anytime we wish and we can linger in the dusks and dawns and listen to the heart murmur, and the spirit soar with a song that is peculiar to such timeless places.
If you listen closely, you will hear my heart singing. If you look closely, you will see my shadow among the trees and on the hillsides. If you read these words you will know that we have been there in those ageless hills and that we have walked together in the only real home we will ever know on this earth.
The hills of Eden.
Hills of Eden will be published every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Please click the title, Hills of Eden, to read more about Jory Sherman and his books.