Uncharacteristically early

I am dashing this off before going upstairs to pack.
As usually happens the day before travel, or before the arrival of company to stay, or a major religious holiday: a surprise.  This time, it was the clogging of the garbage disposal, backing up into the sink, which I did not succeed in  curing myself.  So I did indeed need to call a plumber.  (Just what I needed today.)

But everything else is well, and now I am heading upstairs to pack lightly (G-d willing) for two weeks.
I will try to write tomorrow night, if I can.  In any case, I hope to return to these pages on Tuesday or Wednesday night.  

I wish us all a holiday of revelation, recalibration, and rededication to the deepest intent of our hearts.

Good night.

Wet

It has been raining on and off since yesterday, sometimes heavy, sometimes slow gentle soaking.

So I did a necessary and timely task:  I weeded.  Lots.  There's still more to go, but I did plenty.
What I didn't count on was the complaint of my muscles:  I crouched a lot, and my rear end really feels it, and is telling me so.  

I was invited this evening to a concert of a wonderful local women's chorus---musically, a great treat.
The venue was a beautiful old church.
The music was touching, lovely, beautifully sung by a small chorus of women.

In the pew directly in front of me sat a couple, probably in their late 40's-to-mid-fifties.
He was just gently resting his hand on her hair.

I came completely undone.
This still happens, now and then:  suddenly something like that will catapault me into a state of intensely missing-Zalman.  
The simplest thing will do it, like seeing this couple so quietly and lovingly connected; then I remember sitting in other church pews at concerts with Zalman in that state of connection.  I see this couple and remember that a great portion of my life/myself has been amputated, and where my beloved used to be, beside me, now there is a void.  I miss the level on which we shared.

This time of my life is not like simply being alone; I was alone for many years.  This is alone-plus-the-absence: different.
Balance does return.  It just takes a little time.
And the beauty, both of what we had, and what there is now, is worth it.
Good night.

After rain...

It has been a beautifully slow rainy day---very shabbosdikeh.
I have watched birds enjoying the seed in the feeders, taking shelter from the rain beneath the soffit.  I anticipate an easier time weeding tomorrow.

I am turning over in my mind the things I want to teach this time.  More, I am looking forward to learning from my teachers and colleagues.  And to seeing friends, teachers, students after a year.
On the more mundane level, I am thinking about whether I might cram everything I need for thirteen days into a carry-on.  Wondering where to get the best deal on a rental car at Phildadelphia International Airport.  (Don't forget to pack the Garmin.)  Searching for my recipe for homemade insect repellent, particularly abhorrent to ticks.  Wondering whether I reallyneed white socks and shoes.  (Sigh.)  
It occurs to me that deer-tick infested grass might really put a dent in the number of young people who used to fall into each other's arms every summer for the traditional "roll in the hay".
(Sigh.)
The link below to a song from those days.  Enjoy.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KSIozxB0rs

Yikes, it's almost...

-->time to pack for travel!
But not quite.

Meanwhile, though, I am musing and turning over in my mind what/how I would like to teach this year.
I enjoy this phase of preparing.  I can even do it while weeding,which is how I spent part of my morning.  Even when material is the same, I never end up teaching it exactly the same way; so much depends on who is there, and what has been happening in our world. 
And of course, no matter what I prepare for a teaching at a yontiff retreat, the need-of-that-moment may have different ideas.  My committment is to be open to that wind, allow it to up-end whatever little cart of carefully crafted goodies I have brought with me, and to let it blow through me.  I always hope I have honed myself into a good-enough instrument to be useful.  I never take that for granted.

And none of it will work well unless I begin getting enough sleep.
Since I need to be up a little less than 8 hours from now to go to minyan, I am going to do a revolutionary thing and actually sign off early and go upstairs.
Blessings---

A new Monday

I have spent an inordinate amount of time trying to clean up my laptop...(delete, delete, delete...)
It doesn't seem to help.

I notice the same process cleaning out the refrigerator.
And what about art supplies, clothes, chachkas?

On the one hand, clearing up is a very good thing to do.
On the other, I can also use it to avoid doing other more challenging things.
Right now, the challenging thing I am avoiding is going through the printouts of the early entries on this site.  It seems that longing and grief have cycles and rhythms of their own, independent of logic; and sometimes they simply resurge and overwhelm me.

Fortunately, I also must prepare my material for the Shavuot retreat which will begin the shabbos after next; so there should be some balance in the days to come.

Good news:  the six new goslings are well and thriving, and turning darker from the original light-yellow; now they look almost green.  And I remember how Zalman used to delight in the new hatchlings every Spring.

Sweet dreams...