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Hine ma tov. { .הִנֵּה מַה טוֹב וּמַה נָּעִים שֶׁבֶת אָחִים גַּם יַחַד }

behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren { sistren–yes, it’s a word } to dwell in unity.  this song, this psalm, is one of the first i learned in hebrew. how deep, how rich, how resonant the words vibrate in my soul when sung. perhaps it is the gradual lengthening of days, the bursting forth of new life, the whispers of spring that are stirring a desire inside me to connect with others…

a few days ago, as i’m scrolling through my facebook feed, several posts have reminded me of how important it is to have community. whether it’s the outpouring of birthday wishes, the uploaded photos, the individual status updates–i’m reminded that i’ve become a rather isolated individual.  i truly don’t want to be, yet i find myself thousands of miles away from my family; at least 3+ years since i’ve seen either of my longest-friends { hi R & A! } ;  watching as others form bonds of kinship.

sometimes i’m not very good at articulating how i feel, so i have to borrow words. these words, from Paul Rogat Loeb, succinctly summarize what i’m attempting to say: We become human only in the company of other human beings.  And this involves both opening our hearts and giving voice to our deepest convictions. …When we shrink from the world, our souls shrink, too. 

i fear my soul is shrinking.

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the shortening of days

every year, the length of daylight ebbs and flows…it’s impossible not to notice. the languorously long, sun-soaked summer days eventually give way to the chilled, dreary-dark of winter. and yet, i have never noticed it quite as much as this year.  though i recollect the year i lived in rural japan {“teaching” english}, where in august it was bright past 11, and in december, it was pitch dark walking home from work at 4, never before have i noticed how i tend to embody the changes in season. perhaps, i never took the time to notice.

more than ever, i’m recognizing patterns: in the foods i crave, in the activities i want to do, in the beer i drink, and in how i notice/partake in time. in the bright months of summer, i want nothing more than to be outdoors–even if it’s just reading a book, with a thermos of unsweetened, iced green tea or mugicha by my side. i crave cold/cool things, lighter in body, simpler in profile: sushi, salads, watermelon, fresh fruits/veggies, cold pasta/chicken/tuna salads. i drink hefeweizens, pale ales, things low in abv. and above all, even with loads of sunlight, it feels like i never have enough time to accomplish everything i want to–> time slips by unnoticed.

in contrast, these shortened days we’re now facing, i’m amazed at all i get done before the sun sets, particularly on my days off. i drink heavy-bodied ales: stouts, porters, things barrel-aged, barleywines, spiced ales, pumpkin beers. i want hot, rich, savoury foods: casseroles, soups, crock pot meals, fresh-baked breads, root vegetables & gourds, things loaded with cheese/sour cream/ butter. i prefer being indoors, under loads of blankets, with my kitties on my lap- sipping hot cocoa, cider or small-earthenware pots filled with lapsang souchong or puerrh.

even with all the technology at our finger tips- instant communication, movie streaming, the “plugged in” culture- and all the modern “food” conveniences- like raspberries at the grocers in january or the conveyor-belt sushi joint by work–it’s absolutely,mindbogglingly amazing to me how my body still is in tune with its surroundings. it hasn’t lost touch with seasonality, and i endeavour to do the same