Friday, July 30, 2010

false alarm

Last Sunday the rains and the winds raced through Montgomery County, Maryland, like a lion in winter.

The inconvenience of the sudden tornado-like weather became an emergency when the fire alarm went off inside the apartment building where I had been visiting with my friend's 88-year-old mother-in-law.

Eight of us stepped cautiously down nine flights of stairs in semi-darkness.

When we touched down on street level, I saw a gaggle of elderly renters gathering with wheelchairs and canes and walkers.

The first to bring bottled water with paper cups to share was a 97-year-young widow.

Another female tenant told me that she was a former opera singer in New York who knew Robert Merrill.

The woman with the green velvet slippers was hyperventilating. Her eyes favored fear. I instinctively began speaking the Yiddish of my youth. Her eyes sparkled. I held her hand and watched her breathing slow down to a waltz.

Each face was a portrait of courage. How many other false alarms did they escape during their lifetimes?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

the blessing stream

When we raise ourselves in spiritual awareness, blessing flows like a mighty stream.

Friday, July 16, 2010

out of the blue

I sit on a cliff overlooking the turquoise waters of Boston Bay at Great Huts in Port Antonio, Jamaica.

I await the sunrise at 5:00 in the morning.

I stare at the horizon in anticipation of the sun's dramatic arrival.

I close my eyes for a moment of pure meditation and deep breathing.

I open my eyes to find a white dusty ball placed precariously in midair above the waters. No strings are attached.

The sun appeared to me as an "out-of-the-blue" experience even though I had been watching and waiting for its debut forever.

"I expected a more fiery sun," I said to my young friend who had encouraged me the night before to experience the morning's early dawn.
"Every sunrise is different," she stated.

All of them, I realized, come "out of the blue."

Friday, July 9, 2010

saying goodbye again

My only son left home again.

First, it was preschool and his crying that would not cease when I dropped him off.

Then, it was kindergarten when my crying would not cease following his morning departures.

We all got into the rhythm of life and its daily separations: school and camp and overnights at his friend's homes.
Then he left home again for an eternity of ten months. He journeyed to Israel after his high school graduation when the intifada was in full swing. I prayed nightly for his safe return.

Now, at the age of 27, he leaves again in search of his true vocation.

For the 13-hour drive to Atlanta, he packed himself a bagel, a water bottle, an apple. He got behind the wheel of his Honda and slowly backed away from the driveway.
My only son left home again.

Friday, July 2, 2010

swimming in simplicity

I spent three glorious days across the road from Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts.

The writer and philosopher Henry David Thoreau lived on the shores of the pond for two years starting in the summer of 1845. He advocated living a simple life while transcending the ordinary.

I stood inside the famous cabin that contained a bed, three chairs, a desk, and a furnace. Surrounded by woods and within viewing distance of Walden Pond, Mr. Thoreau wrote down his observations.

Could I live so simply? Could I commune with nature and be content with the beauty that enveloped me?

Thoreau did it for two years. Could I do it for two weeks or even two months? Could I find solace and depth in my own philosophy?

My desire for solitude is an attraction. My love for the written word would seduce me.

If I went inside would I ever come out?