To the choirmaster, a solo for violin

Holy is the empty space, the void within form.

When we are pulled taut by the extremes of life, by conflicting desires, when we tremble in the guideless air, isolated even from those who are closest to us,

Holy is the gaping dark.

Though we are powerless before the rod, caught within our own chafing limitations, the forces that press and move us—nevertheless,

Holy is the unknowable abyss below.

Because in the clear still night, when we cry into the holes in the center of our being, our voices will echo in the place where there is nothing, and out will pour a song of comfort, clean and pure and soothing against the black.


Dancing shoes

These shoes? I’ve had them for years. They’re really good shoes, comfortable—the kind that you can wear your whole life so long as you take care of them. Every week before I put them on I look them over, polish them up, but besides normal wear and tear they don’t need much maintenance. The stitching is strong, and the leather is still in great condition even after all this time.

Obviously I don’t wear them on the street or every day—they’re dancing shoes, after all. They need smooth wood surfaces. The grit and gravel would ruin them. They’re made for a specific purpose.

And just so you know, when the music starts and I slip them on, sometimes I feel like I’m flying.


Just cuddle

Battered by the week, I lean into Shabbat. “Can we just cuddle tonight?”


Candle afterglow

When the candle wicks start to burn, it’s easy to see the world in a different light. There’s a subtle sheen that influences vision as soon as she lights the candles, making colors brighter and surfaces shinier.

It creeps into the children’s room and makes the ponies and dinosaurs on the glossy covers rear and dance. It smoothes over photographs and makes the subjects younger, happier than they were even in the glow of the camera flash. It’s a light that brings twinkles to eyes and illumines the darkest corners—at least for a few moments.

It does sputter and fade before true dark sets in, of course. It’s not for keeping—just for enjoying.


Road ends

Shabbat? It’s a lot like driving forty miles over the speed limit when all of a sudden a sign in front of you announces, “Road ends, 500 feet,” and sure enough, 500 feet later there’s no road and you have to smear rubber across the highway because otherwise you’ll drive into thin air. You’re in a hurry and there are places you have to be but the road just isn’t there right now, though the workmen tell you to be patient because it’ll be up again soon… -ish.

You can get mad, sure, you can yell or make frustrated phone calls and pace, but instead maybe you pocket your keys and step outside. There’s a field of wildflowers in the median and the birds are singing, and even though you’ll have to work twice as hard to catch up, you don’t mind the delay—not really.