Echoes of Elul Day 5: Seize The Day

Elizabeth J. Cohen

The older I get, the more I appreciate the days of my youth; the time in my life when there were clear cut boundaries. I knew every rule as set out by my parents; I knew what season we were in just by looking out my window and most importantly, I thought nothing untoward would ever happen in my life. I had certainty. I understood my place in the world and never worried.

Now as our west coast summer moves slowly on, the days grow warmer instead of inching each day, cooler towards fall . The pandemic seemingly drags on and on. In California, fall is not a time for temperatures to cool but to gradually heat up.

We all know that the high holy days are usually blisteringly hot and the season of autumn mostly passes us by. But, somehow, this year, it seems out of the natural order of things, even though it’s a Southern California given.

I mourn the mere fact that the leaves don’t descend from the trees as they did in my youth on a set schedule. For the first time in my life, I worry that there is no signpost to lead us into winter. No…We cannot count on the four seasons anymore. We just have to blunder through until winter announces its presence with cool temperatures, rain and wind, whenever that may be.

Likewise, we all must stumble through these uncertain times, with no real guidepost to help us to decide, “who is safe to be with, how far apart we should really sit from one another or if a trip to our local grocer is wise.”

I am longing for the simpler times of my youth but at the same time would not wish away any time I have already spent on this earth. I guess the lesson l’ve learned is , to paraphrase “gather your roses while you can.” I am still, in this time of uncertainty trying to “gather my roses,” enjoy each day and not obsess over the world as it stands today.

Perhaps next year as we prepare for the high holy days, our world will have fallen back into some “new form” of normalcy. It is possible that autumn will arrive as never before, cool and refreshing and the world pandemic will be over. One can only hope…but just in case, keep “gathering your roses” and keep them close to your heart.

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