Yeah, finally – all the signs of fall have arrived here in Atlanta.
This morning was cold and crisp, with frost bejeweling the grass. Pumpkin, bah – this stuff was everywhere.
The trees are starting to turn color at last. It took a couple of cold nights to get the process started, but it is clearly in evidence.
Our holiday season is over. That seemingly endless parade of yomim tovim – Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret, Simchat Torah – gone now, for another year. No more holidays until Chanukah, the beginning of which coincides with Christmas Day this year...so the yidden and the goyim will both have something to celebrate. Put tefillin on for the first time in over a week (we don’t wear ’em during holidays or on Shabbat), and it felt good to wind those straps around my arm again.
The annual Torah reading cycle has begun anew. For once, it was easy to find the right spot in the scroll: right there at the Beginning. “Bereishit barah Elokim eit ha-shamayim v’eit ha-aretz...” – in the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. After the reading, I had the honor of hagbahah – raising the scroll from the reading table and holding it aloft so the congregation could see the words. It’s a challenge this time of year, as all the weight is on the left – and I’m right-handed. But screwing up is not an option.
It’s fall. My favorite time of the year, that few weeks when there’s that snap in the morning air. The cold, the rain, and the bare, lonely-looking trees come later. Right now, it’s heaven, right here on Earth.