In Autumn Moonlight, When the White Air Wan
By Robert Bridges
In autumn moonlight, when the white air wan
Is fragrant in the wake of summer hence,
'Tis sweet to sit entranced, and muse thereon
In melancholy and godlike indolence:
When the proud spirit, lull'd by mortal prime
To fond pretence of immortality,
Vieweth all moments from the birth of time,
All things whate'er have been or yet shall be.
And like the garden, where the year is spent,
The ruin of old life is full of yearning,
Mingling poetic rapture of lament
With flowers and sunshine of spring's sure returning;
Only in visions of the white air wan
By godlike fancy seized and dwelt upon.
I had a religious Sunday. In the morning while our kids were in Hebrew school the parents were summoned to a meeting on Mitzvah projects, the charity or community service work they do (or in the case of the very wealthy kids, the organization to which the family and friends donate lots of money). This time the head rabbi let one of his very good friends give a pitch about how now that she's a Bar/Bat Mitzvah consultant, we could actually HIRE her for help with our projects. I restrained myself from storming out of the meeting by developing a plan: when she proposes helping Israeli children exposed to terrorism by sending them to a very expensive summer camp, about $2500 a kid, which is what her daughter did for her Mitzvah project, I am going to look at them earnestly and say, "My son would really like to help the children in Gaza who have no blankets or clean drinking water." (This rabbi, who likes to brag about his involvement in the civil rights movement in the US, likes to steer congregants away from worrying about how Palestinian children are being treated using rationales from before the Yom Kippur War.) This congregation drives me insane and I feel very unable to break away and find another one right now, until both kids are through the Bar Mitzvah program.
I had a much more spiritually uplifting evening: I went with vertigo66 to beeej's house for a Samhain ritual. Events at beeej's house always involve lots of wonderful food and awesome decorations -- she does Halloween better than anyone I know -- cauldrons, candles, a full set of witch Barbies, and participatory cats (well, if sleeping on a shelf and batting at shoes from under the table counts). There was black bean soup and cheeses and candy, and cider and pumpkin bread and a descent to the underworld in the ritual; I don't really believe that people can speak to the dead in corporeal form, or at least that I can, but I always find it very uplifting and satisfying to remember my grandparents in the kind of detail required by the ritual. I can't do the same thing in any of the silent meditations in my synagogue because there are too many people in the congregation and it feels too impersonal to me. I need to find a Renewal movement group or Tel Shemesh group that celebrates the seasonal cycles, because while I know where I can celebrate Rosh Chodesh locally, I don't know where I can go for an Earth-based Sukkot celebration.
Pumpkins growing out in the field. (Supposedly the red warty things are sweeter than the big orange ones, and it's the green striped pumpkins that get canned.)
A Halloween display in front of the barn with the crafts.
This is how the kitten preferred to spend her time in the crafts barn.
...and a calf...
...and goats on display for the kids.
RED SOX IN FOUR!!! Also watched Brotherhood -- oh Rose, such pettiness is beneath you, if you want to take advantage of your nephew than you should bring him in on your scheme instead of using him. And Michael -- well, at least he knows he needs help, though he has no conception of the level of help that he needs. It's still not as infuriating as Tommy, though, who doesn't think he needs any help at all! "We had a happy marriage...I had a happy marriage." Exactly. I wish Eileen and Kath would run off together with the kids!