Domestic Jewish agenda: candidates respond

August begins

I'm so glad it's August. Heat doesn't bother me. I was born a Texan, I luxuriate in it. I unfold in the sun like a bean plant or a raspberry cane. The greenery around us is hitting its wildest point; some of what grows along our driveway is as tall as I am, and the wisteria is trying to climb the house all the way to the sky.

I love the way the goldenrod always seems to start blooming six weeks before the Days of Awe. It's my first cue that it's time to start paying attention to who and where I am, because my change of year is coming. In our meadow the first goldenrod flowers are little sunbursts, surrounded by red clover blooms and diligent honeybees.

I love how the sign at the farm nearest our house changes with the season. Right now it has two words on it: "blueberries" and "peaches." I ate my first local blueberries today, big fat ones from the orchard down the road -- and then the first single berry from our own bushes, a concentrated burst of flavor that left me reeling.

And the peaches! Yesterday I said a shehecheyanu over my first semi-local peach of the year. I stood on the deck and reveled in the feel of its fuzz, the faint acetone scent, the way juice ran down my fingers and my chin. We ate our first local corn yesterday, too: $2.50 gets you six ears at the Bradley Farm, crisp and sweet.

There's always part of me that wants to resist the turn of the year, to hit the cosmic pause button so we can stay right here, right now, in summer's warm cradle. But that isn't how it goes. Real tomatoes, fresh berries, sprigs of basil eventually give way to blazing leaves and the honeyed smell of fresh cordwood, and to bright skies over crisp snow, and again to new green. But today it's early August, midway between the longest day of the year and the sun's hovering midpoint, and I'm so glad.

!זֶה-הַיּוֹם עָשָׂה יה; נָגִילָה וְנִשְׂמְחָה בוֹ

This is the day which God has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!

(Psalm 118:24)

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