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Earth Etude for Elul 5: Early

by Rabbinic Pastor De Fischler Herman

Leaves yellow, wither, and fall

Acorns drop, clacking on the street

It is only the middle of August

The creek shrinks, stalls, and stagnates

Leaves floating, halt, holding in place

We wave the flag for Independence Day

Air swells, heats, and suspends

Strawberries redden, picking time already

And it’s not yet June

Azaleas bloom and leaves unfurl

Long before Mother’s Day

Cherry trees blossom, the river retreats

And April’s parade is weeks away

March winds don’t blow

February’s snow pays no visit

January’s weather brings forth no complaint

Hineni—Here I am

In the land of riches

Watching

Listening

Tasting

Feeling

Breathing

Perceiving

Humans regard Early as a virtue

But Nature begs to differ

Early is okay every so often

But not as a steady diet

Too much Early

And Nature,

Like Jacob wrestling the angel,

Struggles for its very survival

Time speeds

Earth chokes

Land broils

Ice caps melt

Whales beach

Oceans rise

Rivers swell

Cities flood

Creatures thirst

And trees weep

Mother Earth and Father Time Yearn for TLC from us,

Their bipedal offspring

It’s Time to wake up, you sleepy heads!

Oh, brothers and sisters,

Can’t you see?

Our parents, and all planetary life, crave

Binah—understanding

Chesed—lovingkindness

Rachamim—compassion

And hazanah—nourishment

Not only from one another

But from us two-legged children

Who’ve been playing way too roughly

Long past our bedtime

We’ve trampled on this Cadillac of playgrounds

(This amazing gift from the Holy One of Blessing,

Who has entrusted it to our care)

We’ve been ignoring our Mother’s call to return home Early

So we can have Time to get ready

For Shabbos

It’s high Time we see that menucha–rest is in order

We need to return to the family table

With our precious parents and each other,

Enjoy the fresh fruits of the local harvest,

And repair our wounded senses

Only then may we all reconnect with the One

Source of Life

Creator of the Universe

–De Fischler Herman

Rabbinic Pastor De Fischler Herman, ordained by the ALEPH Ordination Program (AOP), served as hospice chaplain until retiring in 2019. She serves AOP students as a Director of Study (DOS) and is a climate activist, writer, artist, gardener, avid bicyclist, and food distribution volunteer in her community. De lives in Takoma Park, Maryland with her husband and cat.

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