Independence and mourning
Submission and splendor: week five of the Omer

Afternoon gratitude

In the comments on my recent post Meditations on mincha, Merle Feld (whose most recent poetry collection I reviewed for Zeek) alerted me to the "Writing in the paradigm of prayer" exercises on her website. (Go to the write for your life section of her site and scroll down a bit.) These are writing exercises designed to serve as prompts to help one awaken and cultivate consciousness at the three prayer-times of the Jewish day. Today I listened to my mincha playlist and delved into one of her mincha questions, and here's where it brought me.

Recenter: what am I grateful for this afternoon, right now? Remember, describe, one small moment this morning that was a pleasure, that brought a smile, that was meaningful, rich.

This afternoon, right now, I am grateful for the green world around me -- for the rich, almost unbelievable chartreuse of new leaves unfurling all across the hills. Balm to my eyes after winter's palate of white and grey, after early spring's shift to the brown of thawing mud and the faint haze of color on branches which didn't yet dare to leaf. I am grateful for music which enlivens my day. I am grateful for connections and conversations sparking across the ether.

This morning my son was yelling when I got downstairs, but when he heard my voice outside his door he quieted to a more conversational babble. When I entered his room and turned on the lamp and raised the windowshade he blinked at me and then reached up to be lifted out of his crib. He nestled into the crook of my arm on the gliding rocker and we rocked gently and cuddled as he drank his morning milk. He is solid on my lap, his legs dangling long across me, and sometimes he wiggles and kicks, but this morning he was contented and still.