Earth Etude for Elul 25*– To the Silent Stones

by Sarah Chandler

~ Do you count your days in footsteps?
In strollers? In sunlight?

Cement and concrete
Below my feet
I take a peek at the patterns
And the places
Where tiny rocks gather
Solid, safe, secure

What was it was like
To move your entire being
From a quarry of friends
To this square of sidewalk?

City stones
Bricks, brownstone, marble
Are your family now

The eyes of
Our neighborhood
My commute
My shabbat walk

Sometimes the trees
Insist that their roots
Decorate your patterns

Your cracks keep my steps whole
Each journey down the block
Following butterfly trails
Tracing bark into branches
Welcoming glimpses of stars

Reminding me
To breathe between steps
Circling and retracing
Routing our pathway
Of grids and spirals.

*Based on the teachings of Rabbi Moses ben Jacob Cordovero in Sefer Tomer Devorah 3:6 – ספר תומר דבורה ג׳:ו׳
עוֹד צָרִיךְ לִהְיוֹת רַחֲמָיו פְּרוּשִׂים עַל כָּל הַנִּבְרָאִים, לֹא יְבַזֵּם וְלֹא יְאַבְּדֵם. שֶׁהֲרֵי הַחָכְמָה הָעֶלְיוֹנָה הִיא פְרוּשָׂה עַל כָּל הַנִּבְרָאִים דּוֹמֵם וְצוֹמֵחַ וְחַי וּמְדַבֵּר.

To have mercy upon all of the creatures: He must also have his mercy extend to all the creatures. He [should] not disgrace them nor destroy them. As behold, the Highest Wisdom is spread over all the creatures – the silent, the growing (plants), the living (animals) and the speaking (people).


Sarah Chandler aka Kohenet Shamirah is a Brooklyn-based Jewish educator, ritualist, artist, activist, and poet. Currently, she is the program director of the new Romemu Yeshiva and a garden educator with Grow Torah. She teaches, writes, and consults on issues related to Jewish earth-based spiritual practice, farming, and mindfulness.
Ordained by Kohenet: the Hebrew Priestess Institute, she studies as a shamanic healer apprentice at The Wisdom School of S.O.P.H.I.A and Kabbalistic imaginal dream work at The School of Images.
Her new initiative, Shamir Collective, launches in 2020

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