I'm not close or friendly with these neighbors. In fact, they are terribly noisy in the summertime, playing music at an unbelievably high volume (and most of us have called the police at least once) and they smoke in their backyard which, of course, abuts mine, and when the wind blows just right, the smoke finds its way into my own house through the open windows.
But until today, I never realized quite how close together our houses are. And it didn't stop me from feeling what I'm sure must be their total anguish at the loss of their home and all their possessions.
It also made me hug my children tighter, look more closely at my blessings, and bake a batch of cookies for the hard-working fire fighters who made sure that my nearby house was safe.
Today is the Jewish holiday of Tu B'Shevat. A full moon shined down last night on the wreckage of their home and on the peaceful quiet of mine.
It's a pretty incredible holiday, when you think about it, especially for those of us who live in what seems like the frozen tundra of the Midwest. Just when we're all really getting sick and tired of the cold and the snow and the ice...we are reminded that yes, in some places, spring is poking up. And yes, even here, where it seems that spring will never come again, we know it will. Planting a tree (planting anything!) is quite a leap of faith, an opportunity to put the seed or the seedling in the ground and believe that growth will come. Tu B'Shevat reminds us to continue to have hope and to continue to believe that what we plant now will bear fruit in the future. It reminds us to truly have faith.
For my neighbors (who aren't Jewish, but that's okay), I hope that the fullness of the moon will remind them that the moon waxes and wanes, always coming around again. They will rebuild and recoup and recover...
Watching out the window since the sirens woke them up from their naps
Like any good blogger, I took pictures of the experience....(go see Tracy's cool new site!)
Going back to Tu B'Shevat...
It doesn't seem to totally fit, but it's what I was planning to do anyway so here goes:
One of my favorite stories from the Talmud:
Honi sees an old man planting a carob tree at the side of the road. "What are you doing?" he asks the old man. "Don't you know that the carob tree takes 70 years to bear fruit?" The old man is undeterred by Honi's comment. "Of course I know," he says to Honi. "I'm not planting this tree for me. I'm planting it for my children and grandchildren. Just as trees were planted here in the world for me to enjoy, it is my responsibilty to plant for my future generations." (completely paraphrased from Babylonian Talmud, Taanit 23)
Perhaps we are not the ones planting the trees by the side of the road. But we are the ones making sure that we protect and preserve our earth for our future generations - our children, grand-children and great-grandchildren. What kind of world will we leave them? The future is entirely in our hands.
In honor of Tu B'Shevat (or Tu B'Shwatt as some are dubbing it this year), I am giving away some stuff to help you go green in your life.
- 2 Target Re-usable Bags (in handy zip up pouches, I love these and you can never have too many of these puppies)
- a re-usable coffee cozy, handmade by yours truly (see picture)
- my favorite water bottle, a Thermos Intak BPA-Free Bottle (with a cool flip-top cover, possibly my favorite part)
- and maybe some other fun surprises thrown in!!!
Here's how to win:
- Comment on this post with your favorite go-green activity or product, or how you celebrate Tu B'Shevat. Entries open until Wednesday, February 11th. (closing at 9pm)
- Make sure I know how to get in touch with you (email, blog or twitter work fine)
- Earn one extra entry by tweeting about it. Come back here and leave me another comment to let me know you did it.
Go Vegetarian and be green?
For the Love of the Trees
Facts About Trees
Tu B'Shevat Haiku