This is the time of consolation, Tisha B’Av being over and the hefty work of Elul teshuva not yet in full swing (although, of course, you do teshuva all the time, right? I’ll try to be more like that in the future.) It’s also the time when we’re coming home from vacations. It’s been an amazing time of relaxation, of change, of opening up, of expansiveness. That is how I need to find consolation this year. For our vacation, we went camping in the Maritimes. We jumped through ocean waves and walked the ocean floor, hiked through trees, picked wild berries, ate meals overlooking gorgeous vistas of rock and water, saw bears and blue jays, hermit crabs and seals. It was a fantastic, incredible experience, and I loved every minute.
The people were incredible. We made random friends playing in the park and washing dishes. We saw bits of history that made Canada more real and more homey and more funny and more cute. I was connected to my last year of work – and to my childhood memories through forts and historic homes, The interpreters (facilitators? animators? Gosh, I like language in Canada) were interesting and funny and informative.
And God, God was just there. In the waves and vistas, in the berries and fresh local PEI fries (incredible,) in the trees and rocks and water (yay, Canada,) in the bears and hermit crabs, the interpreters and the memories. Each touch, each taste and smell and sight and sound was a little bit of ‘it’s OK.’ There may be things I don’t like in my life and things I feel I can’t handle, there may be challenges and crazy questions, decisions and changes, too much work and too much alone time, too many people and too many responsibilities – but there are also wild blueberries.
A world that has the sun rising over the trees in the morning, that has waves coming up on shore and tiny salamanders – that world is enough. There is enough beauty there to counteract the ugliness of paperwork and broken furniture at work. There is enough stability and continuity to counteract the change that sweeps through my life. There are enough gifts of pure joy to counteract the sneaking suspicion that God gets a kick out of laughing at my trials and tribulations. There is enough in the ocean and the history and the forest and the rocks to say, ‘wow, my problems are tiny.’ This world is fantastic, and I am so, so, so very lucky to have a few short moments now and then in which to enjoy it.
This Av, the world is my consolation, and I will hold the trees and the jays, the bears and the snails, the history and the salamanders in my heart to see me through the challenges of the coming year.