With my daughter starting full-time French kindergarten, my husband starting an organic vegetable farm, and my double duty at work, it probably comes as no surprise that I have not been able to write or paint this summer. In fact my plants are all dead in their hanging baskets. In But something in my spirit has been triggered and called forward. An urge to pray, a sense of repentance.
This past season has been one of labour. I’ve just taken a seat after fourteen hours on the go; working an intense day with my simultaneous positions at work, followed by intense catch up with the kids, followed by dishes, making the bread, and ironing…
I love the Wendell Berry poem that begins, “I go among trees and am still.” In fact I made a piece of wall art that hangs in my office with the whole poem on it. And these lines from the poem ring true for me, and sum up my summer:
After days of labor, mute in my consternations, I hear my song at last, and I sing it.”
This weekend, we participated in a Rosh Hashanah celebration. I am still slowly warming up to these sorts of events, but this one really resonated with me. I’ve always loved fall as a new beginning, and was surprised to learn this is the Jewish new year. We gathered along the stony bank of a shallow river, all sparkling in the warm afternoon sun. We gathered stones for our wrongdoings and cast them into the stream. The cold water flowing over my feet, the yellow leaves gleaming between the rocks, the sounds of shofars on the breeze all lent themselves to the sense of being cleansed and given a fresh start at things. The kids, who couldn’t get over the idea that they thought we were going to ride on a boat (which we were not). We then gathered and feasted on apples dipped in honey, bread, salmon and garden vegetables, surrounded by heavy-laden fruit trees and dahlias and grape vines against a sun-warmed mountain backdrop.