The tree of life had always been there, swaying in the summer breeze, bathing in sweet rain, exulting in warm sunshine. It was not discovered for it had always been. It was not defined because it was complete in itself. It had no name because it needed none. It had no end because it had no beginning.
The first people enjoyed the tree; they gazed upon it, sheltered under it, created things inspired by it. They laughed, sighed, danced and sang under its magnificence. They celebrated each other in the dappled shade of its leaves. They were content.
The second people guarded the tree and built a wall around it – a beautiful wall, but a wall nonetheless. They created rules concerning who could see the tree and when. They decided on appropriate garments and gestures and tone to be used when visiting the tree. They selected the worthy and held the unworthy at bay.
The third people made weapons and called for the worthy to defend the tree and to destroy the unworthy. They soaked the land in blood and ruled by fear, and by guilt, and by violence. The tree of life shrivelled and died but the people fought on, eager to maintain the wall, and the rules, and the worthy.
In time, the tree of life sprang up again in the most unexpected of places. Once again it comforted those who sat and gazed. It sheltered those who created, laughed, sighed, danced and sang under its wonderful branches; and they were content.