Sunday, November 15, 2020
It is not what we see
in the bright shapes of the day--
a crinkled gold of sunshine
on flowers and steps,
a pond we walk by catching the sky
a watered lawn the right green.
These are there, of course,
and true in their way,
as is the gray of concrete,
rainy morning duty
where we rise with not enough sleep
and drink our coffee, shake our arms,
our shoulders, to rouse ourselves.
Look at the sunshine creeping
under the blinds, we say,
You can do this—get out there!
But behind all that—the sun catching
rainbow on the drops from the sprinkler,
the paper we draw from our briefcases—
lies an ocean that sun and paper
float in, a dark they rise out of, like islands.
An antelope runs the plain.
It leaps the absence,
the lightless fjords between the known.
Its body—not-body—is a black possibility,
a night that turns into the face of day
that turns into so many things—faces
and oranges and isthmuses,
crowded onto our mainland of the real.
Beyond it float fragments and wires
of the ungraspable,
an island of fog
where the unnamed and the unnameable
rub against each other in the mist
and the broad water beyond it all,
the deep below things and their names,
the black of everythingalltogether
not yet born
ready to rise.
—Sarah Webb, 11/16/20
Thursday, November 5, 2020
What about inventions? Did GOD know about the airplane all along, or was it a new thought that was shot into the heads of Orville and Wilbur Wright? Or the vaccine for COVID? Does God know the formulation and is she holding back so that we learn some great lesson, or because she’s lonely and wants some new ones to take up residency in her domain?
There is another take on this. Since God made us, maybe the thoughts were all there when we were born, and they make appearances with great rapidity from the moment our brain is formed. Since the rabbi didn’t say that God puts the thoughts in as we think them, maybe all our thoughts are there from the beginning.
In fact, there is an ancient story about how we know everything at birth, and then an angel comes and touches us below our nose and erases the blackboard, so to speak. I do believe that for a few Mensas, the angel fell asleep and all the knowledge remained. Angels aren’t the best at sticking around, according to Jewish legend.
I like the slingshot theory because it allows us to forgive people who have especially evil thoughts. Or even mistaken thoughts— like the reason we have so many covid cases is because we are doing a lot of testing, or the reason Mr. T. is losing the election is that votes are being counted. Can we blame Mr. T for these seemingly erroneous thoughts if they are an “act of God” so to speak?
So what did the Rabbi really mean? Can we simultaneously be our own person and a child of God?