Three Whitenesses

1. A few days after returning from a vacation in the Yosemite National Park, I dreamt that I was sitting by a large window in a train traveling through mountainous, alpine terrain. The landscape outside was blanketed with snow, flat and white, featureless except for two receding parallel ribbons of black, the railroad tracks. A moment of terror: did this vision presage the blank mind of plaque and tangled neurons? Then gradually forms emerged: the faint shining disk of the sun, jagged peaks etched on a background of billowing clouds, shadowed gullies and dark ravines, and below, a winding tree-lined river. I awakened, laughing.

2. It’s June, and our regular summer guests have arrived, a pair of albino ferruginous hawks. First we hear the harsh kaa-kaa of their rasping calls, and then spot them, perched, side-by-side, on a high branch of the 50-foot eucalyptus tree in our neighbor’s yard. They spend hours circling and hovering over the meadow beneath us, occasionally swooping down and immediately soaring up again, grasping in their bloody talons some wriggling prey, usually a small mammal; last year one of them caught a snake.

3. A Midrash: After Adam/Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden the Holy One of Being prepared for them garments of rawhide. Now these are understood as representing the leather straps of the tefillin, the phylacteries, those instruments of ritual that bind us and direct us with good laws and rules of right living. This is the way we Jews are to worship on this mundane plane of exile. But before the Expulsion, while still in that place of wondrous innocence, how were Adam/Eve garbed? In cloaks of light, we are told.

Oh that I may offer my orisons wrapped in that white light from Eden! It beckons me, but today I cannot reach it. Meanwhile, those leather ribbon-straps lie before me on my desk, demanding, summoning.
Jonathan Omer-Man ©2010

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