Journal entry by Eve Ilsen — a minute ago

We valiantly set forth in costume early this morning, and made it to shul (o rare occurrence!) at 7 a.m.  The Megilla was read wildly beautifully.  And as it always happens, I hear it differently each year.
This year,  it sparks very recent memories of genocides attempted on other groups, as  our hearts still hurt from news of slaughter at the mosques in New Zealand.
(My heart also hurts in shame:  in our time, the first incident of Muslims murdered at prayer was perpetrated by Boruch Goldstein in Hebron.)

How do we grow our species up, past the reptilian reactions to "us" and "not-us"?  (sorry; don't know how to turn this into a link now.)

Erev ...


Journal entry by Eve Ilsen — 15 minutes ago

               ready to go to sleep.

Beautiful day.  We walked in the Open Space all the way to the big green water tank where Zalman sprayed holy graffiti all those years ago. He did it after those studies by Emoto came out, suggesting that water molecules configure differently---and beautifully---when the water is in a vessel on which are written positive words.
So he wrote words of blessing, and they persist.
They keep repainting the tank green; his graffiti keeps bleeding through.
I feel a little purr of satisfaction whenever I go there and find his words still readable.

Tonight my visiting friend and I dressed up and went to shul to celebrate and hear the reading of the Megillah of Esther.
What a story.

We go back early tomorrow morning to hear it again.
Which means I should go upstairs to sleep.  
(Mishka curled up beside the laptop giving off deep-cat-sleep vibes.)
Mrowr.  G'night.

Almost Purim

At the same time (and not all of same valence):

  • a new, healthy grandson---great joy

  • a visiting friend in the house

  • a wondeful film from the Jewish Film Festival---"93 Queen"---honoring an exceptional teacher in our midst

  • a purring cat curled up asleep beside the laptop

  • the plumber who seems to have cured the small ongoing leak that the water company continued to note on my bill; and it did NOT involve digging everything up between the street and the house, as the utility company's young employee said it would!

I cannot even begin to think of balancing one list against the other.  I can only offer up my gratitude that there are, thank G-d, two lists.  
It is that season---of the interplay between the Dark and the Light.

May we dream the Light into this world.

A year since this morning

This has been one of those days in which so many very-different things follow one on the tail of the other that it is hard to remember back to this morning.

An interesting collection of elders involved in elder-work meets monthly over lunch; I got to join them this month. Wonderful people.

The friend who stayed with me after the eye surgery and kept me from doing anything too stupid is visiting for a few days.  We have just caught up some, over cups of warm milk with turmeric.
She has brought treats unavailable in Boulder, like real knishes!  Tomorrow...

I have never tried warm milk before CaringBridge, and never will again:  I cannot stay awake enough to put two words together.  
Good night; more tomorrow.

Sunday, Sunday

I am not quite sure where the day went...

Sun and clear sky, squirrels and birds.
I received the treat of a visit from friends from Europe; it had been a long time.
I was sniffling and sneezing; I decided not to take this to the Islamic Center where there would be many people.
Instead I bundled up and took a beautiful walk in the park around Viele Lake, with children and dogs and geese at a distance, the sun and the cold air.  I will hear tomorrow if the gathering led to any action directives.  And since this would have been my time at the Islamic Center, I prayed as I walked for the safety of all our communities, for a cooling of the resentments and fears that lead to violence, for an opening of hearts.  For clear vision of the truth of what is going on.
(It seems that "reality" proceeds on so many different levels at once...)
Just now:  a late long-distance call with a friend I've known since I was twelve years old; we share a certain fundamental memory of what reality was then...

Mishka the Cat is exploring new behaviors:  she is not curled on the desk by my arm as I type tonight,  but is napping in Zalman's favorite recliner chair.
She decided to sleep on the bed last night---a rare occurrence.

I am falling asleep between words; a sure sign that it is time to go to bed.
Blessings, blessings.

Late, late...

I see on my laptop that we have just tilted into Sunday; in my own mind, it is late, but still Saturday.
Mishka is curled on the desk next to the laptop, dozing and purring.
I am finally tired enough to go upstairs to bed.

It has been a beautifully extended shabbos---I have had the joy of listening to visiting scholar Danny Matt unwrap the context and content of the Zohar, central book of Jewish Mysticism. We all wandered together among the concepts, and from the Reform shul to the Conservative and back, with Renewal-niks tucking themselves in as well.  I appreciate this community's capacity to swim over boundaries, and to honor fine scholars.

Tomorrow, many of us from all the local religious communities will gather at the Islamic Center of Boulder, to grieve the massacre at the mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand; and, I hope, to take measures so that such incidents do not happen again.  I count "prayer" in as one of the tools of an activist, along with others. 


Coming closer shabbat, to an East Coast friend's visit, to Purim, to officially Spring.
The Great Blizzard that was predicted turned out to be merely a normal snowstorm in Boulder.
(I remember the real blizzard some years ago, when friends had landed for a day travelling between coasts---and stayed for almost a week, since the aiport had closed.  We had a ball.)
This one was disappointing, as far as storms go:  nothing dramatic, after cancelling all sorts of things.  Too bad.
Tomorrow, the little that is left will melt completely.
This was the weather's trick on us in anticipation of Purim.

I went tonight to attend one of a series of talks that Zalman gave some years ago on Davvenen--- before the Flood, going by the chair he was sitting in.  I realized later, as I reviewed it in my mind, that he was speaking mostly of private prayer.  
I don't have trouble with that; though I often wonder whether Anyone is listening, and am not sure whether to be grateful or embarrassed if the answer is yes.
My trouble is with most of the composed prayers in the siddur---both the content and the quantity.
I know I'm not alone.

The prayers that I can do, that focus my mind and open my heart, are the smaller ones of the weekday morning, the evening, the gratitudes, the karmic-forgiveness prayer before the bedtime Sh'ma:
the ones I can do at home that focus my consciousness for a moment.  Or, if I am lucky, that spiral me down into my center.

The first thing I used to hear in the morning was the very soft voice of my beloved giving thanks for the return of consciousness.  The last thing I heard was the almost-whisper of the bedtime Sh'ma.
I will go upstairs now, and prepare my own consciousness to wander safely as I sleep.
Good night
Good shabbos
(and a purr from Mishka, napping beside the laptop)

How odd...

Journal entry by Eve Ilsen — 15 minutes ago

It is a peaceful, lovely night.
I had plans to take a three-hour class at the JCC in the morning, get to a doctor appointment in the afternoon, and attend a film in honor of a wonderful community member in the evening.
Then we all got the word that we are supposed to get enogh snow to call it a blizzard tomorrow.

The class has been cancelled, I sent an email warning to the doc's office, and I still have mild hopes for the film in the evening.
Meanwhile, I bought salt for the sidewalks, checked that the shovels are by the door, brought in wood for the woodstove and stocked up on ingredients for French Onion Soup.

Whatever happens, it should be an interesting and possibly celebrative day tomorrow.  When enough people are disrupted from their routine, all sorts of uncharacteristically good things are free to happen.
I can't wait to see how it will turn out.

Tune in tomorrow for the report.

Turning attention to...

...messy desk, undone stuff, things left hanging in the middle.
By this, I mean both the outside world---my desk, the pantry, the closet of precious miscellaneous, etc.; and also the inside world---my half-done projects, my dangling threads, my mind.

It is one of those nights when I wish I could even just dream of curling up with my beloved and falling  asleep to the rhythm of his breathing.  
(I note that my wishes and longings now have gone a step farther away from wishing for actual flesh and blood.)
Does this longing ever go away?
I don't know yet; I am reporting from the field.

May we all be blessed tonight by dreams.