Earth Etude for Elul 22: Fifty Shades of Green
by Rabbi Suri Krieger
“Green green, it’s green they say, on the far side of the hill
Green green I’m goin’ away to where the grass is greener still”
It’s a song that was a familiar refrain for me in my growing up years. I loved the message as much as the melody. We were a camping kind of family, and grazing in the greenery of the woodlands was my sacred place. But wherever we went… the Green Mountains of Vermont or the Poconos of Pennsylvania… the green was always somehow marred by the inevitable Fast Food throw-aways of the various camping sojourners.
These days, I live in what I think to be the Green suburbs, where most of my neighbors, like myself, are quite environmentally conscious. We conscientiously separate our recyclables, we attempt to grow at least a few of our own vegetables, we sign petitions to our local politicians. But within a mile of our pristine green neighborhood, there is a Starbucks, MacDonald’s, Duncan Donuts, and three thriving strip malls.
I am writing at this very moment from the Highlands of Scotland, where I have the good fortune of spending this summer’s vacation. Here green comes in 50 shades. Green and rocks and trails are the colorful souls of these Highlands… and gardens everywhere, the Classic and the Wildflower Garden, with not a Mall or Strip Mall in sight. We stop at every ‘pull-in’ to take in the view, and I find myself musing… if this were the US, what fast food chain selling Outlander Burgers would pop up here? What over-the-top Resort would block my view of Castle Eilean Donan ? We would find shop after shop of plastic Loch Ness monsters.
Grateful am I that there are still some places remaining on this beleaguered planet of ours, where the grounds are not littered with plastic and take-out containers…where the grass is greener still… where there is preservation of what’s precious in our precariously wounded planet.
I offer up this ancient blessing: ‘May the Holy On Blessed be She, give you the dew of heaven and the green fatness of the earth’*
Ken yehi ratzon ~
May it be so, that our malls be plowed into green pastures, that our fast fooderies blossom into floral havens.
May this be our Tikun, our Earthly Teshuva.
so may it be !
Reb Suri Krieger is Rabbi of B’nai Or, Jewish Renewal of Greater Boston.
*Blessing adapted from Goldie Milgram’s Mitzvah Stories