Yesterday I was better, but still felt tender. This morning, I feel whole again, wrapped in my bubble of energy, insulated again from what I find to be a bizarrely intimate connection with the Vzygorodek Melikiers.
I've been so tender I couldn't even handle the autumnal beauty for a few days. It was too much for me. I have often been overwhelmed by spring in this landscape, but never before have I felt too moved by the fall colors. This year it's different. Is that to do with the discovery of the Yizkor book or is it because fall this year is the most spectacular we've had in several years? It's always pretty, but we had plentiful rain over the summer, and apparently just the right temperatures. The trees are out of this world, even the great oaks, whose leaves usually just turn brown then drop by the zillions onto Eighth Street. This year they're red and gold and bright. It is rather overwhelming, but it shouldn't be, should it?
I continue to ask myself what purpose it serves to grieve intimately for people I never met, who lived in a place and at a moment in history I can not imagine. Does it serve or is it just weird? Who knows?
I will perhaps find out more on Monday when I go back to the Library of Congress. I'm going because Monday is one of the two days a year that they open the main reading room to regular people. The ordinary citizen is not allowed in the room except as part of a tour. I loathe tours, hence if I want to get inside that room, I have to wait for the open houses. And I do want to get inside that room. The main reading room of the Jefferson building is perhaps as beautiful as the rotunda at the Capitol - maybe even more beautiful. I will take pictures. After that, I may return to the African and Middle Eastern reading room to hold the book again. Or maybe not.
|The main reading room at the Library of Congress|
However you slice it, this ancestor work is strenuous. I need to take it little by little.
Elsewhere in life everything is splendid. Fall? Gorgeous. My practice? Busy. I'm healthy, sleeping pretty well, getting out for my walks, taking pictures, spending time with friends. I have great clients, friends, neighbors. I love my home and neighborhood. I'm even back in love with DC (during the government shutdown my ardor flagged a little bit - understandably).
In a little more than two weeks I'm going to get on an airplane, go to Oregon to spend Thanksgiving with my family, something I haven't done in decades. I love my family. Right now, in the midst of this exquisite fall, I love everybody.
OK, maybe I'm not as insulated as I hoped from the connection with my ancestors. Oh well. An open heart is a good thing, right? That's what they say.
The Buddhists are correct - that this life, a "brief, greedy sugar high," is a precious existence. It surely is. Even while grieving, I appreciate that truth, especially now that I'm sixty.