August arrives. I'm preparing to return home, and I'm ready. I'm beginning to miss my routine and my work. This internal signal tells me it's time to go. Richard and I will be driving home together. Each summer as I leave our home here in New York and its surroundings I say a ritual thank you. Yes, I literally thank the river, thank the heron and otter families, thank the long and quiet roads, thank the spaces between the branches in the trees for inspiring my imagination, thank the Queen Anne's lace, and as I turn and step out of the door I look around one last time and say, "Thank you."
My gratefulness sometimes comes from a place of recognizing the privilege of having our home and space in New York. However, when I leave I feel I need to say, "see you next summer" like a summer camp buddy that shares your summer year after year. Not unlike growing with a dear friend, this place has held me, has celebrated with me, has witnessed life at its raw core. It has witnessed babies, now college bound, grow and delight us and mourns when some never return.
It's amazing what a physical place can mean to us. It can hold us, accept us, and comfort us. I'm lucky. I have a congregation in Florida that I love and that welcomes me each late summer. When I arrive home one of the first things I do is sit in our Sanctuary. I breathe in the air that I've missed. I allow the voices and music that I've missed to surround me -- at least in my minds eye and ear. I know what it feels like to leave love, so I must know what it feels like to return to love. That is why I'm grateful. I would not know one without knowing the other. I'm on my way and am excited to see you all.