Friday, September 20, 2013

Night Swim, new edition

I put this copy of my book in my father's plant that he gave my husband and I for a house warming more than 15 years ago. The plant didn't bloom for years but when my dad died in 2010, a month later it started blooming. You can see why this plant feels special to me. I wrote about that here. 

The new edition of Night Swim recently found its way to the top ten spot on B&N's Nook bestseller list.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Thich Nhat Hanh in Boston, September 15, 2013

Friday, September 13, 2013

Yom Kippur, a child's thoughts

Yom Kippur begins this evening and it brings back memories when I used to fast as a child. I began fasting when I was about seven and stopped the year I turned seventeen and went off to college.

As a child, fasting heightened my awareness of everything—time, smells, sights, sounds, thoughts. By the end of the day, without the usual prompts of meals and snacks to mark my routine, the day took on a quality of air where space and time became one, my feet barely on the ground where I stood. I spent those days fasting with other Jewish kids on the quiet streets and sidewalks of my suburban neighborhood. As usual, we rode bikes, played hide and seek, rode bikes again, or found things to do with stones, dirt and sticks.

Plus this: on this day of Yom Kippur, we picked our super special--sacred--apples from our neighbor's small orchard. Those gnarly trees, weighted with fruit, lowered their limbs for our easy reach. Each of us—maybe we were half a dozen kids—walked among the leafy trees in search of our own, flawless apple, unbruised, red and shiny.

Once I made my selection, I kept my apple close, in my hands, for the rest of the day until that precise minute on the clock when I returned to earth, could break the apple skin with my front teeth--and eat!

The apple represented my reward. But it also represented life, beauty, survival, temptation, and the power of nature and G-d, a power that created this aromatic and sweet tasting fruit. My apple overflowed with its roundness, its redness, its greenness, its "is-ness" and became my companion, my cheerleader urging me stay the course, to last the whole long day of fasting. Nestled in the curve of my fingers,I felt my apple's solid nature, its promise of future nourishment. "I’m not going anywhere," it said. "Treat me right, don't drop me. Polish me, honor me, and I’ll be here for you when your fasting is done." 

And it was. Every time.

It’s been years since I've fasted on this holiday, but my body remembers with fondness and gratitude the help I received from my neighbor's red apples. 

For all those fasting on Yom Kippur this year, I wish you a good one that allows you to focus on the day’s meaning of atonement and forgiveness and to find some cleansing in the process.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Tuesday, September 3, 2013