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Tossing Away My 5770 Wrongdoings
It is now 5771, according to the Hebrew Calendar. That means that 5,771 years ago, God created humanity, according to Jewish tradition. Obviously, humanity's a lot older than that, but I still like the idea of a birthday for the world that fits a time-frame that's well within the realm of my imagination.
I want so badly to keep this blog entry pure and free of references to September 11th, 2001, but as I write, it's in my head in parallel with what I want to write about, so I'll just acknowledge that it's nine years on; and it was the closest I ever came to being in a war-zone, since I was in Manhattan that day; and it's a gorgeous day so far, just like it was then; and otherwise today, I'll be going about the business of getting my hair cut and having lunch with my mom, then coming home and doing some work.
What I Want to Write About:
It's the end of dusk on the sunny-cloudy-sunny first day of Rosh Hashanah and I'm standing on a bridge, tossing seven stones into a small river because we have no bread with us. It's not the Mianus River; it's more of a huge creek, just north of Exit 35 of the Merritt Parkway, diagonally across from Wire Mill Road, just off of High Ridge Road in Stamford, Connecticut, the town where I was born and raised.
I'm doing Tashlich for two, as my nearly-85-year-old mom's unable to walk the relatively short distance to get to the river-creek. "How many sins do you want me to get rid of, Mom?"
"Three," she says after a pause.
My Rosh Hashanah outfit this year is green and brown and practically, I blend into the woods as I bend over to pick up the stones. I'm amazed at the memory of 40+ years ago that sketches itself over top of the current scene; it erases the foot-bridge I'm standing on, adds more dragon-flies than the one I see and includes dappled sunshine and a mother my age, watching her three daughters, splashing among the rock-bedded, shallow ripples.
We called it the swimming hole then, though the water wasn't really deep enough for swimming, and it was an adventure just a few miles south of our High Ridge Road house, which my mom treated us to in summer-times.
Now, I'm standing on a cement and metal bridge over it, tossing three stones in a row for my mom and then several for me: For not spending enough time with Pat, my family and friends -- one stone (Pat just came to say hi and I told her I'm trying to blog; oy!); for being impatient with my mother and any of her extra needs as she's getting older; for being impatient with myself for not being able to do as much as I think I ought to on any given day; for being self-absorbed.
I return to the car and tell my mom that other than the bridge and time of day, the swimming hole looks like it did when we used to splash there.
I drive my mom back to the High Ridge Road house, where I grew up and where she still lives, and feel the loving opposite of impatient.
God, please let me be that way at lunch today, too, and let me have a more patient 5771 altogether. Amen.