The weather here has been crazy lately. Only the occasional Just f-ing too hot! But more than toasty far too often. What’s been strangest has been the mugginess. A thickness of air that makes your lungs work harder. And now, after some cleansing rain, the crisp scent of autumn.
We’re responding ambivalently. Not wanting to let go of a summer that always seems to begin too late and be too short. But also noticing that some mornings it’s just a little cool. Apples and pears are winking at us from the farmer’s market stalls. Strawberries saying good bye. And while we’re crying Too soon, too soon, there’s also an inner part that recognizes that the time for change has arrived right on schedule.
I feel this way when I drive to the coast. That moment when you smell how the air has changed. That salty under taste and shift in the wind. The edge of transition, imminent and welcoming. We’ve been preparing so long. It’s almost time.
This week’s reading talks about life in the Promised Land, the building of the Temple, and three annual pilgrimages to it. The holidays commemorate the exit from slavery, the giving of the 10 Commandments at Sinai, and the harvest festival. These correspond to a conscious re-birthing, defining the rules of daily life, and gratitude for the bounty that we’ve earned.
We’re still six weeks from the Jewish new year. There’s big potential for processing this time of the year, and a very conscious process of doing so that starts in about ten days. Yeah, yeah we’re supposed to be conscious each moment of each day. But identifying these special times, the holidays and their pilgrimages, real or metaphorical, helps keep us honest. They set us up to experience the shift as more than just a turn of the calendar page and the naming of dates.
Most of us are hard-wired for autumn and January 1 as transition times. Like students and teachers readying their school supplies, we’re subliminally getting ready for a shift of season. We don’t know how its gonna be when we get there and then. But we’re curious. And so very very close. We can see, smell, and taste it in the air, our food, and our daily attire, as well as on the calendar.
We’re not just curious about what it be like there. But how will we, I, me will be like there and then. What new parts are going to emerge, perhaps parts I’ve been nurturing and cheering on to step up and do better, take more responsibility. And also curious how older parts of my nature will shift around, find new ways of relating to one another, maybe even take a back seat.
The weekly readings get their names from their first word. This week’s Re’eh, means “see.” It comes from the choice between blessing and curses, and the designation of two mountains in the promised land to represent them. This is a great time to “see” how you’re doing as you prepare for the coming transition. To prepare yourself to choose the life of blessings that you so deserve.