Friday, May 27, 2005

Rainbows and beginnings

I worked at a bar mitzvah tonight, the third one in as many months. Nice families, good kids. I don't mind the work as much when the people are nice. Earlier, the boy's father had told me that things were chaotic at the house...the daughter had shoe issues, the wife was questioning the pink dress choice and there was a watermelon making a mess in the kitchen. They had picked blue and orange decorations, but were clearly a Yankee family. He also told me that he had to clear a branch of an enormous tree had fallen into the parking lot the day before. All these things stayed in my mind, I guess. And, as is the case lately, I was actually paying attention.

I got my prep work done pretty fast, so I sat outside with my book and cup of coffee, the voices of the people singing in the Temple provided a nice background. I looked up to check out that broken tree when I spotted a magnificent rainbow, best I've ever seen...complete arch all across the sky! I couldn't stand that I was the only one seeing this rainbow, so to the first person who I saw in the parking lot (an elder of the church, apparently), I yelled, "LOOK! A rainbow!!!!" He wasn't as impressed as I was, obviously, but as an elder would, always thinking, challenging, teaching...he instead tried to think of the Jewish word for rainbow. He came up with a German one instead..."Regenbogen." Ok, fine, but isn't that the coolest rainbow?!!! He looked quickly and went inside. Maybe he had seen enough rainbows.

In the Bible, God used the rainbow as a symbol that the Biblical Flood was over and that God had forgiven His people. I thought that maybe this rainbow was meant for the boy's bar mitzvah. I wrote this poem for him while I was waiting for folks to come down to eat. I thought that he should've known it was there, even though he missed seeing it. Maybe the poem will be his remembrance of it. He liked it, as did his parents, and a few other guests.

For Alex

The evening storm passed
Cleared by a family of the faithful
Singing songs of centuries
Ancient voices carried aloft
Rustling the leaves of the elder maple tree
Still standing tall near the door
Stalwart usher of the Temple Color Guard
Behold! A brilliant rainbow
Blue and orange and pink
Reached over your House today!
End to end, I saw
A perfect slice of sweet, summer watermelon
Arched high in the clouds
God’s holding onto it, I think
His own “golden arches”
“billions and billions served”
Today, it was for you.


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