By the Lake

Travelogue entry: By the Lake

Spent the weekend in the Catskills, visiting with my brother and his family. Did a one mile hike up a mountain and back. Calmed my soul on the back porch of his home there. Took videos and photos, and breathed the pristine air. Met with my mother via Zoom for Friday evening dinner while there. And, saw an orthodox Jew and a Hassidic Jew, while stopped at a gas station near Monsey, on the way back from the Catskills.

The dew falls on grass,

wet with teardrops from Heaven;

reminds of mannah.

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The Stone

Many places, arrived at by life’s choices,

concretized in time, once a decision’s made.

A multitude of possibilities, cast aside,

in favor of the one, that changes everything.

A blanket of snow in winter, covers

all growth, that has since decayed.

Spring brings renewal to the heart and mind;

consolation to the cobwebs of the past.

Summer bears the burden of responsibility,

when all is brought to the light of truth.

In preparation for the autumn leaves,

that will fall gently to the ground.

These natural cycles are determined

by more factors than our own choices.

I was once given a polished stone,

a constant reminder of silence.

Stardust

We are fallen, as a consequence of the first act of disobedience in the Garden of Eden. How do we rectify that transgression against our Maker? To begin with, we need to discover the potential to transcend our “fallenness,” and move past the outcomes in our lives that occur as a result of our fallen nature. To recover our past unity with G-d, and harmony with all of Creation, we need to transcend our circumstances, by realizing the origin of our dismay.

The loss of our primary role as responsible caretakers in the Garden, because of the negligent act of dismissal of the original blueprint, instructions, and training manual, has led gradually over generations to our demise. Thus, we conclude that the state of the earth, and the conditions of mankind, are due to the neglect of our responsibility as caring stewards of the earth. Even so, we need to realize that the earth only began to decay, after the original sin of Adam and Eve.

Therefore, the real culprit, and primary cause of the state of neglect that we see today all around us, is the long-term generational consequence of our own fallen nature. We are interconnected, as Joni Mitchell wrote, “we are stardust,” and somehow, we need to return “to the garden.” Even if we focus on renewal for the sake of the environment, and the complexity & interconnectedness of the entire biosphere, we will still fall short of the mark, because it is necessary, as well, to make an endeavor to renew our very souls.

Will improving upon the way mankind has treated the earth since the industrial revolution also compel us to become better human beings? What about our relationships toward each other? Cain tried to argue away his filial responsibility, by asking, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” By asking the question, he implied that he did not think so, inasmuch that his sarcastic response echoes across the generations, for us to respond to as well. Because Cain is viewed as an example of the worst in mankind, it is obvious that we should not be like unto him. Rather, our character traits should include compassion for all humankind, as well as the earth.