Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Beautiful Riddance of Sin

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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.

She smiles.

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.


Joybells said...

Sarah, this is so beautiful. Just like you.

Sarah Siegel said...

It takes one [beautiful blogger] to know one!