#BlogElul 17 – Awaken

BlogElul graphic Wow. The obvious metaphor for awakening this time of year is the shofar, but I think I’ve written enough about that. Who or what else awakens during the month of Elul?

It’s September. School will be starting soon, and we cast an anxious eye to see whether the trees have started turning. The mornings and evenings are starting to be a little crisp, although it is still warm during the day. Summer will soon be over and autumn will fly past, as it does at this latitude. By November we can expect everything to be covered in snow and go into hibernation for the winter, until it awakens again in the spring.

In Israel, where I was born and mostly raised, things work the other way. In the hot, dry summer, nothing grows – I remember admiring the snails as they waited for water, quietly glued onto thorn bushes. But in the fall, the first rain comes (and it is so special it has its own name, as does the last rain in the spring). Things start to green up, life wakes up to enjoy the rainy season and the easy availability of life-giving water. The snails open their sticky doors and start crawling everywhere. By May and June, though, the hot wind from the desert will have turned everything brown again.

It is funny to me that Israel and Manitoba are both in the Northern Hemisphere, both have hot summers, and yet their season of awakening is completely opposite.

I think it goes to show that frame of reference is everything – whether life has been in bondage to extreme cold or extreme heat, the awakening is quite similar, once it happens.

The same could be true of us – the season of our mental and spiritual awakening depends on our frame of reference, whether we have been dulled by the everyday, or beaten down by trauma, or have any other reason for hiding in our shells, like the summer snails. But once the cool rain releases us, it is up to us to awaken to the possibilities of life and seize the day with both hands, not mourn the lost time but move forward in the excitement of tomorrow.

Are you asleep? What kind of cool rain would help you wake up?

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