September 30, 2011: Leonard Grossman

September 30, 2011: Leonard Grossman

Every fall  begins with a back to school rush, even years after the leaving the school room behind. There is still the sense of renewal, of a fresh start, new beginnings.  But it goes so fast. What happened to that clean sheet of paper?

And then comes Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, which begins another kind of renewal. A second start to the new season.

One of the best things about Judaism is that most holidays are celebrated twice. Today is the second day of the new year. Another start.

The first day can be hectic.. Long services in the morning, lunch, maybe squeeze in a quick nap and then off to a huge family dinner at my brother's in Lincolnwood.

But the second day has a slower pace. It starts out the same but there are no obligations for the rest of the day.  It seems easier to contemplate new beginnings the second day.

When my daughter was little we used to "take a ride in the country," which often meant heading out to the Crabtree Nature Center  for a hike or at least a good walk in the prairie and on wooded trails with her on my shoulders. She is a mother now and my grandson is brilliant but not yet ready for the forest preserves.

But my stepson is in school in  Peoria and his birthday is tomorrow. So after services today my wife Cindy and I really headed out to the country.  Googlemaps and Mapquest will  suggest superhighways, but we prefer to drive along the Illinois River for miles through dappled sunlight, far from the noise and bustle of the city and so it was today. It is actually a little shorter route and a little faster.

In the car for hours, Cindy and I talked in a relaxed way and breathed more deeply sensing the changes in the countryside. The clouds created shadows on the fields. The rows and rows of corn and soybeans that were so lush and green last summer are turning brown and leaves are red and golden. And there is a sense of renewal and fresh starts.

Breathe.

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About the author: Leonard Grossman is a former school teacher and labor lawyer, writing about the online world for two decades. Now he's doing as little as possible. Find him on Twitter at @modemjunkie.

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