Notes from the field
April 27, 2009
Glancing back at recent posts here, I realize I've been doing a lot of Radical Torah reposting, and maintaining my practice of writing a Torah poem each week, and from time to time posting about rabbinic school learning, but I haven't been posting much about the ins and outs of ordinary life.
On the upside, I think it's thanks to the copious Radical Torah reposting that I've found this blog listed from time to time in the Biblical Studies Carnival (here's a relatively recent edition.) That's nifty because it's connecting me with a world of bibliobloggers whose words and work I hadn't previously known. I love the Venn diagram of the internet, how even the religion blogosphere is divided and subdivided into so many communities which interrelate.
On the downside, I'm aware that perhaps not all of y'all who read this blog are all that psyched about divrei Torah, and I worry sometimes that the rabbinic school posts I'm making these days are a bit too heady for popular consumption -- I'm aware that most people just aren't as enthused as I am about esoteric snippets of Hasidic commentary, bizarre though that may seem to me! It occurs to me that when I began this blog in 2003, I felt like an outsider to the rabbinic establishment. These days, as I move through my fourth year as a rabbinic student, I'm becoming an insider to some parts of the rich world of rabbinic scholarship. The change has been a blessing for me, but I don't want to lose the folks who've been reading VR since the early days. It's something to ponder.
But life isn't all school, not even for me. I'm grateful that spring is upon us. We hit the fish fry recently for the first time this season. The forsythia bush in our back yard burst into brilliant yellow flame a day or two ago, and now tiny leaflets are creeping their way up the raspberry canes and the smallish trees. I drove to Albany today for a meeting with my chaplaincy supervisor from a few years back, and was amazed that the trees there are a week ahead of the ones at my house.
This past Shabbat I noticed that the willow tree outside the window opposite where I sit in shul is leafing, long chartreuse fronds coming to life. Thanks to a warm spell, the last few nights we've slept with the windows open, marveling at the cries of spring peepers eager to find their mates. The two hyacinths I planted a few years ago -- gifts in a flowerpot one Passover -- have bloomed again, as has the Passover orchid my sister gave me one year after I led seder at her house.
I'm beginning to think about summer. I don't know yet whether the class I'm planning to teach at Kallah is going to run; I hope it does, because I'm excited about it (and it would help pay my way), though if it doesn't fill up, I'll be able to choose another class to take for credit in the ALEPH rabbinic program, which is a silver lining. July seems far away, though.
There's been a lot happening in the lives of people I love, both good things and bad. The great-uncle I visited in January (shortly after my miscarriage) took a nasty fall right after my visit and now spends most of his time sleeping. My best friend's baby, the first child I ever really spent time with in early infancy, will turn seven months old this week. I've been exploring various professional and academic options lately -- more good options than I can possibly fit into a single life. It's hard to say no to wonderful things, even when I know my plate is already about as full as I can handle. But I'm grateful to have an over-full life. It's a good problem to have.