Admittedly, it’s not a dream of passion nor a profound life goal, but it is something I have been thinking about for decades. As a child, I loved summer vacation. June couldn’t get here fast enough, yet September seemed to arrive all too quickly.
The lazy, hazy days were a beach blink and then the first day of school. It was an annual shock that effectively abbreviated August, turning its thirty-one days into academic preparation, not late morning wakeups and carefree play ground romps. Three things jolted my summer merriment, reminding me that homework and exams were imminent, that Coppertone went the way of all the Earth. The All-Star Game. The Back to School Sales. The promotion of the new Fall line-up on television. One intrusion was enough, but three effectively ended summer and cast me into a doleful funk. As this pattern repeated, year after year, I made a promise to myself that when my schooling days ended and I would choose a career, it would be one that permitted me a full, relaxing summer and a complete August. Alas, I ended up a rabbi for whom the High Holy Day foreboding begins in May and continues until the Yom Kippur break-fast. I might be at the beach, but I am thinking. I might be on a cruise but I’m planning. I might be exploring new, distant vistas but I’m jotting down notes. The body is away, but the mind is standing on a September bima.
I know every profession and career has its season. Accountants. Retailers. Landscapers. Educators.…and we all share the agita of an unrelenting calendar. But for me, this year is different. Patience and the passage of time have paid off. As the High Holidays close in. As the countdown begins, I confess to being uncharacteristically calm this year. Untroubled. The Boys of Summer. Back pack sales. New T.V. shows. I am unbothered by them all. And though, Elul will soon be here, followed by Tishrei, I am angst free. It is a wonderful place to be. A place I have longed for since kindergarten. I never realized that August could be so pleasant.