A Prayer for Yom Kippur

No venerable conductor makes the shape of this piece in the air with finely tuned hands. No single consciousness directs, and still, somehow, against all odds, a coalescing of harmony. Each leaf and each stone raises its voice, each dancer and each drop of oil offers its fragment, refracts, weaves into the current. When you turn your hands over to see the candlelight shine off the beds of your nails, it’s a strand in a braid, it’s always been.

There are a hundred million hands describing this motion before yours. There are a hundred million after.

How lovely – how senseless – how inevitable – each note of this, the ecosystem of it. The eddies of causality that trail behind your fingers when you dip them in the flow. The sun on the water, moving always in the same pattern.

Unguided by anything but itself, it could be anything. It spangles over your nerve endings as the harmony learns itself, threads through itself, ever new, becomes itself.

Snags of dissonance. Strings twang and snap. Mourning. Feels like death.
Every other force has a face. A name to howl. Something to beat your fists against. This is just the song. The atmosphere.
Shout. Try. Rail. Drown it out. The ricochet of your own voice. It’ll wait. You’ll tire.

When you’re ready, surrender. Crack open the resonance chamber of your heart. Pull a shawl over your face and listen, listen, listen. The space for your voice is there, waiting for you to turn back to it.

Sing because a piece of this lives inside you, and sing because it is beautiful, and sing because a piece of this lives inside everything that touches you, and sing because it is beautiful!

O how good is creation, how crunchy are these autumn leaves, how pure is the pain, how clear is the call to justice, what blessings! Turn your ear toward each, the swell of the song, the enfolding sunlight!

As creaking hinges add their voice to the music, and as the sound slides smoothly into the place that is made for it, a lyric – a still, small voice – yearning toward the inexpressible –

I will be closer to harmony next year than I am today.

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