'Twas the night before Sukkot...
Equinox at qarrtsiluni

And there was evening and there was morning

When the rain blew in last night, conversation stopped. I was sitting around a table with a dozen other poets, talking about bringing poetry into the schools and to people on the margins of our communities, and the sound of the downpour silenced everyone. We listened to the waves of rain hitting the roof and the streets. Even the air tasted like rain.

But by the time I was driving home, the rain had passed -- for the time being -- and the full moon illumined everything. The patches of fog I'd driven through looked, from here, like low-lying clouds. Trees were dark silhouettes against the moonlit sky. Our driveway was covered with the first batch of autumn leaves, shaken free by the rain.

I ventured out to the sukkah, thinking I might sit in it for a short while, but it was too wet. Yesterday afternoon I layered two tarps beneath the rugs, and did my best to tug a third partway over the roof (not exactly halakhic, I know, but it seemed worth a try) but they've proven ineffectual. So I returned to the house, poured myself a nightcap, put on some music.

This morning the world is humid and sticky, the light of day filtered by thick cloud, but no actual rain. (Storms are forecast for later on.) I took my siddur and my arba minim outside, and I davened a brief shacharit in the sukkah. I took the etrog into my left hand, loving its pebbly surface; and the lulav into my right, trying not to be bummed that this year it didn't arrive in very good shape; and I shook them in all six directions, beckoning blessing.

I recited Hallel, singing the bits for which I know tunes, and reading the rest in Hebrew and English. I wished I could remember more melodies, or that I knew an appropriate nusach (melodic mode) for chanting psalms on Sukkot. Nu: my sukkah is rainswept, my lulav looks battered, and I didn't manage to sing all of Hallel. Good reasons to release myself from the constriction of needing everything to be perfect, so instead I can inhabit what is.

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