Friday, September 6, 2013

It wasn't supposed to rain

But it did. Overnight, on our towels and bathing suits, on the roof I was going to climb and repair, on our perfectly-laid plans for the day. So you know what we did? We made new plans.

We didn't go to the beach, to shul, to tashlikh with the people from shul, or for new year's ice cream as planned. Instead we snuggled in and each took turns coming up with and then leading a portion of our home-grown, private, personalized, DIY rosh hashone service. Well, we did that until the rain stopped, we got hungry, and then we went out for lobster, scallops, and salmon while we continued our DIY service. And then we went on to a beautiful piece of land trust land (Oven's Mouth) where I've done tashlikh in the past, where we did our yiskor service, and then Andy, who brought a shofar with him to Maine, and happens to be extraordinarily skilled at shoyfer blozn, marked the start of the days of awe here.

I don't think it feels appropriate, on the first high holy day, to pull out one moment of selfish joy. Especially on a day when I was almost always engaged in a deep reflection to kickstart the next ten days of reflection leading up to yom kipper, and especially when some of my closest people were bringing questions and frameworks and songs and poems and prayers to the rest of us, asking hard questions, listening with love, pushing each other, being patient with each other, being flexible to accommodate our idiosyncratic day, and being willing totally up for eating a lobster roll in the middle of services. But, there was one moment that was more self-focused than others. In the morning, when I had finished pulling together the part I wanted to bring to the group, and others were still working on theirs, I slipped down to the river and did a private tashlikh on the mouth of the Damariscotta River. The tide was high and had just turned to retreat out to the ocean. I threw broken up pieces of bread into the river, casting away my sins. It's always stunning to me how at first I can't think of anything, and once I get going they just start rolling off my tongue. I have an additional practice during tashlikh—one that I've been doing for years—which is that after I toss out, say, impatience, and I dwell on specific examples of my impatience, I welcome patience in to fill the void. I watch the waves lap in toward shore, and imagine that while the current pulls my impatience out to sea, the waves lap patience back in to me, from the vast oceanic store pile.

What could be more joyful, really, than me alone with the entire Atlantic Ocean on my side? Except maybe the rain "ruining" our plans?

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