Rosh Hashanah

Hours before Rosh Hashanah, and I am asking questions. What stories to record and preserve, what moments to capture on those pages written on cloud banks, in storms and streaks? Who by fire and who by water? What words or actions to cast into water – the river, the lake, the ocean of the discarded? What sweetness to dip into and what bitterness to burn?

Round loaves of raisin challah pile onto the counters of Stone Soup, where Avery & Elf must have been baking all night. Cake layered with apples soaked in cinnamon and loads of local honey. Rugelach, each no bigger than your thumb. Honey cake so dense and sticky it would send Pooh Bear reeling backwards.

Tonight will bring the double flames, the Book of Life slowly opening, beckoning us to wake up as the new year crowns into being, endings and beginnings so tightly interwoven. Tonight we will walk through the gates of bigger time, other time, old time, into the presence of what holds us in a vast embrace.

Yes, Rosh Hashanah is to celebrate the new year, the turning, the sweetness. And it opens a ten-day period of reflection that culminates in Yom Kippur, when we strip ourselves of color, of ego, of pride and struggle; when we sit, hungry, humbled, in the presence of our own selves, of what we can’t avoid; of what we must confront. Yom Kippur: Fist hits chest. Yom Kippur: Litanies of woe and regret.

Hot cheeks. Bittersweet. Gratitude, humility. Honeybees. Pearly girl. Aviva, preternaturally aware of Awe. These are those Days.

May I stand in the doorway of the Divine without posturing, with emptiness and openness. May I take in my own transformation and turn it outwards. Weep for what’s lost and stop searching. Stay with what is and allow – allow the song to hold me like a strong pair of arms, like a soft belly, like a mother, like a father, like a child. Like a dark womb.

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