08 October 2011

Yom Kippur: A day of Forgiveness

"In America, they don't have fresh bread.  It's hard to find in some places, and it's expensive." 
We're sitting in the middle of Grunewald Forst (Grunewald means greenwood, forst means forest), and Asia, who has spent a lot of time in the US is making cheese and tomato sandwiches with bread we bought at the train station.  She's Polish.  I think about the availability and accessibility of fresh bread in Poland, Germany, the Czech Rebuplic, and then I look at the cheese and jam sandwiches I have brought with me for our outing.  She's right!  I'm used to processed, sliced bread.  It's what I grew up on.  This is yet another thing that makes me an American, and slowly, I am learning that being an American is no worse than being anything else.
It's Yom Kippur, and I'm with Asia, her friend Satu, Sharon and, of course, Zigi. 
We are not fasting.  Instead, we are out among nature and newly-found friends.  We talk about forgiveness. 
"I forgive." Sharon says.  "I forgive myself." His statement has gravity.  It pertains to his tarot reading from last week.  I feel myself get lighter.  I feel him lift.  This makes me glad. 
Earlier, I was taking pictures, and he had the nerve to say to me, "Harvey, stop making things.  Be."
And I listened and put my camera away. 
Now the girls have caught up and we are in a birch grove, the trees tall and slender, with papery white bark that I remember from my childhood home in Santa Barbara, California.  I keep identifying things or wondering what kind of tree or fungus or grass.  But I need to still my mind.  We all stop for a sit and some food and I lie down on my back, stare up at the sunlight coming through the canopy.  And I let go.  I release.  I forgive.  I forgive myself for letting Matt move into my house.  I forgive Matt for all he put me through after he broke up with me but wouldn't move out of my house.  I forgive the communication breakdowns, the best friend breakups, the misunderstandings and the "pay attention to mes" and the "you're unimportants," and all of it.  I forgive my brother and his wife for making me feel pushed out of my family.  And I forgive God, or the idea something like him or her or it.  I breathe and I forgive God for taking my father and I forgive myself for not being able to fix it all, for not being able to be in all places I needed to be at one time, for not being able to learn to drive, for being unique or "differently-abled" or whatever you want to call it.  And I breathe.  I forgive the Nazis who hung my people from these trees 70 years ago.  And I smile.  Zigi is licking my face.

We hiked for hours, saw amazing fungus, talked about travel, language, charity, clown, theatre.  Asia has a sister-like quality to her.  She is funny, sarcastic, warm, open and lovable.  At one point she just turns around and hugs me, giggling, and then asks, "What do you want and what are you thankful for?"
"I want a visa and I am thankful for everything."  I answer, and then add, "I want love and I'm thankful for love."
At the end of the day, we are in a parking lot next to a soccer field, catching the last of the sun.  It's gotten cold.  Sharon lies on the ground and I use his belly as a pillow.  "Friends and forgiveness and food." He mutters as I doze.  On the S-Bahn home, we fall asleep in shifts.  I decide not to go to the party with them this evening.  I'm exhausted and need to get up early to go twist balloons at the Boxhagener Platz flea market.  It's not clowning, but I've got to make some money.
I reflect on the way the sunlight dappled the earth or the way the leaves sounded like an ocean wave when the wind rushed through them, the way the earth felt cool and comforting beneath my shoulders, and the way the giant mushroom crop on a tall, broad oak had the spongy feel of flesh. 

I anyone can identify any of these mushrooms for me, that would be incredible.  I think the red ones are aminita, but I'm not sure.

Deep breaths.

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