Sunday, May 17, 2009

Willow & Lily & Roland & Me

In town for the weekend... in order, yesterday, to celebrate a double bat mitvah, for our friend Judy's daughter, Willow, and a friend of hers. We went to the Temple Israel for a beautiful ceremony, at which Willow and her friend Lily did noble duty reading from the Torah and giving their excellent commentaries. A heartfelt occasion, where the rabbi (a woman, in this instance) and two cantors, one male and one female, both in fine voice, led the ritual, and all of us were brought to appropriate tears by moving tributes from the mothers to their daughters. And, of course, vice versa.

Then on to The Four Seasons hotel (!) for liberally-poured beverages, a banquet, and three hours of pounding music from amplifiers made in hell. Ellie and I sat at a table with new friends, exchanging words that could barely be heard at a shout. A lot of fun, though, to watch the young teenagers expend their boundless energy and celebrate their friends and classmates. The food and wine were actually very good; the desserts, with which we filled a doggie-box on our way out, both eye-popping and delicious. Silence, later, was more golden than usual.

And having celebrated a thirteen year-old yesterday, we leave shortly today, Sunday, to celebrate the 80th birthday of our good friend, the artist Roland Reiss. I have been asked to do the toast and, as usual, I'm in a fit of nerves about standing up in front of 70 fellow guests and saying the right thing. It does seem a nice contrast, though, in ages, and one that prompts yet another reflection on the speed with which the years pass--faster with every year, it seems to me. In the context of his anticipated surgery, I have been thinking much in the past few days about my friend, Ben, whom I saw recently in England for the first time in sixty years. I was barely Willow's age then, when I last saw him, and now am getting on toward Roland's!

It's thoughts like these that make me dizzy with the contemplation of the strange nature of time. Here we are, caught up in it, succeeding only in baffling ourselves when we try to understand or control it. Best remember to keep returning to the wisdom of Ram Dass (via the Buddha, of course) and simly Be Here Now.

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