It has become one of the few Jewish rituals we consistently do together, along with lighting Shabbes candles every Friday evening, and it remains one of the sweetest.
And now it's over. We are at Sinai. We've celebrated the receiving of Torah. We've had our cheesecake.
Last night we went to my sister's place (she's part of our "pod", being as neither she nor I have gone anywhere and we feel safe enough to expand our circle of connection this far and no farther for now) to hang out in her backyard, roasting hot dogs over the fire pit and having some much-needed time together.
She showed off the planter boxes she and my brother-in-law built and planted with vegetables. We talked about what it means to be resourceful in this unusual time, which may well drag on through the end of the year for many of us in spite of the masses clamoring to reopen. We talked about the cold, hard reality of jobs and careers disappearing that simply won't come back.
"I'm sitting on a bunch of airline points," I said out loud, "and I can't imagine a time when I'm gonna want to get on a plan again anytime soon -- even for a gig."
I caught myself and added, "IF there are gigs beyond Portland after all of this."
Because it's true. The life I lived up until the shutdown -- the feast or famine of depending on gigs away from home to pay the bills and the communities I've been privileged to visit and share music with over the last fifteen-plus years -- has stopped pretty much cold. These days, I stay home and work on bikes (I get called at least once a week through word-of-mouth referral, which helps pay the bills. I scavenge things from dumpsters and free boxes, clean them up and flip them on craigslist or trade them for bike parts or, occasionally, unopened food. I stay in touch with local friends and pub owners in hopes of rebuilding those networks geographically when we can reopen.
And lately, I am watching the situation across the country with building rage and protests exploding everywhere -- even here in mostly-white Portland, where last night black and white protestors set things on fire and broke a few windows, and a guy on a skateboard was hit by someone driving a car who disagreed with the protestors. We will see more explosions of rage and deep sorrow. I feel inadequate to address that musically right now -- I don't get a strong sense that anyone in my local crew is really interested in folk songs right now and I have nothing else to offer, so I watch and listen and try to learn. I'm not able to leave my home and protest myself, and honestly that's not where I can do the most good anyway. I've let it slip that if any of the protestors needs a little bike help, they can hit me up through mutual friends and I'll help them out.
I've always been better at repair than demolition.
But repair takes a lot longer.
And right now I am probably in need of some repair myself.
So I hope you'll understand if I can only offer online concerts once a month for now, and if the Jewish music vibe isn't flowing as easily from me.
I'm still doing it, but I am also pacing myself, repairing myself by doing a LOT of sitting still and listening.
I don't know what all of this will lead to, but then I'm not really forecasting too far out in the future for now.
I still believe we can all get through this one day at a time, one foot in front of the other. We just need to be patient, and kind, to ourselves and each other.
Today I will sit on the porch wrapped in my tallit, and listen to the rain.
I hope you have something good to listen to today as well.
Wishing you a Good Shabbes and a restful weekend.