Sunday, November 01, 2009

Epiphany on a brilliant morning

The scene: a quiet suburban street. I'm riding back home after morning services at the synagogue. Quick religious primer: For a year after an immediate relative passes away, you go to synagogue for services and you say "kaddish" as a way of honoring his/her memory. It's still new to me and more than a little raw, so I admit having to sometimes pause in the middle of the near-rhythmic, monotonous process to gather my bearings and work through whatever spurious thoughts have weaseled their way into my head. I don't suppose it'll ever feel "normal" to me to be among the mourners who must say this prayer. And perhaps that's part of what I must take away from this.

Often, on the way home from shul, I continue to let my mind churn because this is my first ever experience dealing with direct loss and I guess there's no other way to deal with it except with a lot of quiet thought and reflection. Which a bike ride home from shul in the early morning makes oh so convenient.

So on this morning, as I cruised the leafy subdivision, lost in my thoughts, I noticed this one tree with a particularly golden glow and felt the need to stop. I knew the basic little camera baked into my BlackBerry wouldn't do it justice, but it was all I had at that moment, and I really didn't want to lose what I was feeling at That Particular Moment to the shifting sands of forgotten time. So I stopped the bike and got to work.

The picture didn't give me any more answers to the endlessly confusing torrent of thoughts that occupied my mind both then and since. But it gave me a fleeting opportunity to feel a little closer to normal as I composed a take-it-or-lose-it shot on the side of the road on a chilly morning. This was a very Carmi thing to do, and the fact that I was even doing it at all was a very small sign that I was still me. Changed significantly, mind you, but still capable of the same inexplicable kind of creative insanity that had always defined me. That realization was all I needed to get on with the rest of my day.

Too bad every day doesn't get to start with such clarity. I'll need to work on that next.

12 comments:

Jen said...

I think it is sublime how you can share these moments with us, Carmi.

Clarity is such a gift. I remember the last spiritual / clarifying moment I had. I laughed out loud and cried at the same time.

PastorMac's Ann said...

"Changed significantly, mind you, but still capable of the same inexplicable kind of creative insanity that had always defined me"

You'll never be the same, but you'll still be you. Somehow, that makes sense.

Thank you for sharing this moment of brilliance with us.

Awareness said...

Epiphanies are such gifts aren't they? I love how they tend to happen when we are doing something that appears to be routine.... like riding a bike in a known neighbourhood. It happens when we lift our heads up and for some reason see the scene with new light from our same eyes.

Lovely.... A wink from the Cosmos.

Christine Gram said...

You are still there. And I think the photo is brilliant. Cold and dark giving way to warm and bright. Keep looking.

Love to you.

Tabor said...

Baby steps. Just continue to take baby steps. I am not a religous person and I do envy how ritual helps heal others.

Gallow said...

That's an excellent tradition. Thank you for sharing your insights through this process, as well as the beauty of your photos.

Mojo said...

For a camera baked in a pie with four-and-twenty blackberries (or circuit boards or something) this is pretty remarkable. (Proving once again that the photo is made six inches behind the camera.)

"Changed forever" is the only constant of the human condition my friend. We evolve, or we die. On an individual level, this means morphing through the various stages of our lives. On a species level... well, that takes longer. Unfortunately. But however we adapt I don't think our underlying structure changes significantly without some kind of life altering event. A "disturbance in the force" if you will. How we evaluate and use that change is entirely up to us.

And can you believe it? I'm actually current on my links for once! (Talk about a change!)
Thematic Photographic 73: "Leaves" v.6.0 - Overgrown

Sage said...

nice post--we all need to see, or better yet experience, the epiphanies in our lives.

kenju said...

It's a beautiful photo, Carmi. Epiphanies are a gift.

Pamela said...

"kaddish" sounds like a good thing to help one acknowledge the grief.

You will be normal again -- it's just a new normal.

Jeremiah Andrews said...

I think it is an honorable effort to make the time to go to shul and say your prayers. The more you recite them, the deeper they make their way into your soul and psyche. It will come. That you make the effort speaks volumes for the man you pray for.

Then you stop on your way home to photograph a tree. For a moment you are struck by its beauty, maybe this was a sign from your dad that he is watching over you and to remind you of that he offered you this moment to connect to the divine creation.

You are always in my thoughts.

Jeremy

Mizasiwa said...

thank you for this post youll have no idea how much it means to me. Iv always thought that the jewish faith in its infinite wisdom has the greatest capacity for working with grief. The rest of the us just get our 3 days and are expected to bounce back. ill be thinking of you at this time...i wish i could say it gets better but it just gets more manageable.