Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Bamboo(zled)

(Intimidating are its brick walls, unyielding its solid ceiling. I want to enter through its doors, but I’m afraid of the impossibilities. It is made of definitions and I may not fit into the mold. The solid lines create its comfort, and that makes me very uncomfortable. I wish I could just walk right in, fit right in, let the light in, but I can’t. I can’t because this is a home and I am homeless; I can’t because this is normal and I am not; I can’t because this is them and I am I.

So I stand, the light reflecting off my brown eyes as I look through the window, wondering what would be if I was born like them.)

Blue-tarp walls – to go out on a shaky limb and call them thus – flutter with the breeze’s every exhale. Bamboo(z) and (for)evergreens crown this temporary existence. Light bulbs, perilously dangling from creaking one-by-twos, throw mystery-book shadows on an already mysterious situation. It may be the beginning of the fall, but I’m just about to arise.

It lacks in every comfort – chilly weather, wobbly chairs that fold, counterfeit cutlery, plastic tablecloths, moths circling the light bulbs, bees treading the honey – yet, I’ve never felt this comfortable. And as I wallow in the understanding hug of glorious clouds, I look around and see many faces – all the same in their joy and glow, all different in their journey here.

There is an older man in the corner, round tortoise-shell glasses and lower-east-side immigrant cap. He has found his way here through the keys of a piano. He still sings the blues, but life has taken on a jazzy progression.

A young woman, with porcelain features and golden curls, seems to be innocent and guilty all at once. She has journeyed down a path overgrown with confusion. She now sits in the warmth and smiles into her steaming tea.

A laugh resonates from a man not sitting on a folding chair. He may be heavy in the stomach but he’s light of heart. The bouquet of pure enjoyment wafts over his face with every sip of wine’s river. And a flush comes to his cheeks.

A Rabbi, or at least that’s what his flowing beard suggests, sings softly to himself. He sings softly but the tune seems to carry a lot of weight. His eyes close, little cobweb-wrinkles, like crows feet, turn his face into a wise painting.

The by-the-book young man near him, never out of control, absentmindedly begins to hum along. Some might call it interrupting; but in these four walls, I think it would best be described as harmony.

A tipsy girl – not sure if from spirits or spirituality – with that I-know-the-secrets-of-the-world smile on her lips, is preaching to no one in particular. She is going to have a splitting headache on the morn. But for some people, it may be worth the headache – if only to be reminded that they have a head.

There are many more faces, many more details, but as the night wears on, they seem to blur and remain out of focus.

It is Succos: the many kinds come together in one binding. We all sit here, different in our faces, different in our clothing, different in our journeys. Still, we all sit under the same bamboo, within the same four walls, all traveling in the same direction, all praying for the same destination.

Now, after I’ve folded up the chairs and wrapped up the plastic tablecloths, the sun begins to rise. I hold the four kinds in my hand and, as I shake them in unison, I shake my head – first in wonderment and then in understanding.

previous Succos posts:
G-d, (wo)Man, One
Reconciling Differences, Differentiating Reconciliation

10 Comments:

Anonymous Yossi said...

Great shtickel.
Lechaim!

10/11/2006 9:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mendel,

The prelude (...) is great! Really great!

L'chaim.

May you continue using your outstanding talent to inspire and uplift the many surfers riding the rough waves of non-conformity and self-discovery, on the enormous blogging sea.

L'chaim.

10/12/2006 11:48 AM  
Blogger anonym00kie said...

such talent, id love to crawl into that head of yours and see the wheels turn, must be fascinating..

10/13/2006 1:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i dont' think you can arise. it just doesn't sound right. i'm just about to rise sounds better. havent gotten any further. cant read small words but its probably good.
peace out.

10/13/2006 7:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And as I wallow in the understanding hug of glorious clouds, I look around and see many faces – all the same in their joy and glow, all different in their journey here."

Had these thoughts in the NYU Sukkah in Washington Sqaure Park.

I love Sukkos's unity theme. You brought it alive here.

10/16/2006 10:22 PM  
Blogger jakeyology said...

YOSSI, ANON: thanx a bunch.

MOOKIE: thanx!!! but it's probably just gray and mushy in that head of mine :)

ANON2: ye, i thought about rise but it sounded too much like getting out of bed; arise sounded more like a spiritual awakening. sorry 'bout the small words - but maybe big things come in small words ;)

MIMI: thank you but that's the truth and maybe that's why it's alive - just hundreds of people over 9 days, from different walks of life, under the common schach. may our whole year be that way.

10/17/2006 7:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

couldnt it be at another time of the year...y cant we be united wen its not freezing cold?

10/17/2006 9:41 PM  
Blogger Nemo said...

Maybe because the freezing cold causes us to all bundle together.

10/20/2006 12:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

or run inside.....

10/20/2006 12:40 AM  
Blogger jakeyology said...

A few people have told me that they do not get the prelude. Have I written only to myself (and therefore failed)?

please let me know so that i may learn form my mistakes.

10/20/2006 3:01 AM  

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