Nearby Journeys

sandy-sasso-08By Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso

By plane, train and boat, I have taken many journeys across thousands of miles and continents; many stories, many moments of discovery.  But I want for a moment to reflect on a journey of a few blocks taken by foot.

“Together we discovered a whole world around us and between us.”

It was early fall and the sun was still warm.  My grandson and I were taking a short walk from my home to a nearby playground.  We were the only two people on the neighborhood path.  Backyards lined the sides of the walkway.  Vegetable gardens yielded their last produce and leaves began to turn; some had already fallen.  My grandson must have heard a sound of a scampering squirrel or birdsong when he stopped.  “Bubbie, do you hear that?”  He asked.

My attention was elsewhere and I hadn’t heard a thing.  But I stopped when he did and listened.  “Wow!” I said, as the squirrel hurried to collect his store of nuts.  Then I too heard the sounds of leaves crackling under foot and wind breathing through trees.  My grandson had taught me to listen.  Less distracted, he gave his full attention to where he was.  Together we discovered a whole world around us and between us.  Mistakenly, I had thought our destination was the playground.

It has been a few years since that autumn journey, but I can still feel my grandson’s  hand in mine and savor the delicious moments of undisturbed silence.

The poet Mary Oliver says there are three things that we must do in life:

Pay attention

Be astonished

And tell the story

Excellent advice for all our journeys, whether far away or at home.


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