Grapes serve as a symbol for the new year in Baja. They parallel the round challah and apples I eat during the Jewish new year. Photo credit: “Norton grapes growing in Missouri” by Don Kasak – Flickr: Chaumette Winery. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
This week, I’ve had much to celebrate. And contemplate. I can thank two converging new years for the opportunity. The evening of September 24 marked the start of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. Then on the 25th, The Washington Post published a story of how I spent the Gregorian Calendar new year in Baja California, Mexico.
I see Rosh Hashanah as a time to consider the previous year and the coming year. As one tashlich service leader put it, it’s a good time to contemplate how we balance power with kindness, emotions with principles, and intelligence with wisdom.
And as for the publication process? That was a chance, as always, to take stock of my own writing — what inspires me, how I approach the craft, what I aspire to do with it, and how I take feedback along the way (especially when the editor has plenty).
Shanah tovah to all celebrating, and may everyone have a sweet weekend.
The sun rises near Rancho San Cosme in Baja California, Mexico.
In one of the first pre-dawns of 2014, I stood next to a handful of travelers and watched the sky. As I focused on the layers of stars, I saw it. Meteors cascaded one by one through the Baja night. The only sounds for minutes at a time were our gasps.
It was the end of a two-week bus tour along that western peninsula of Mexico, and that entire time I’d been without a computer. I wanted to bring my laptop, but logistical concerns mounted: Limited access to electrical outlets on the bus where we spent much of our time, the risk of damage or theft, few opportunities to connect to email or look up words and maps. So I left it. Continue reading