High Holidays

I’ve mentioned before how my mom taught me to celebrate the Jewish New Year by doing Tashlich and celebrating change and fresh starts. This year, I may have outdone myself.

Aside from the national change I wished for eleven months ago, I have also witnessed significant changes in my personal life. I moved to an area of Portland with which I’m relatively unfamiliar, to live on my own for the first time in 26 years. I got a new job. It may be in the same building with the same coworkers, but my duties and reporting structure have changed. I started seeing someone new, and he’s fantastic. Pretty dramatic compared to last year, when I think I cleaned out my closet and washed my car.

Speaking of Galen, he very sweetly agreed to do Tashlich with me this year. For those not familiar, this is a Jewish tradition I’ve compared before to a mix between Poohsticks and Confession. I don’t consider myself particularly religious (I would say “spiritual but not religious,” to us a phrase I learned from Match.com), but I do love tradition and Tashlich really resonates for me. The basic gist is that you take bread to a body of water and throw a bit in for each of your sins (or as I like to think of it, “areas for improvement”). Then they float away down the river and you get to start fresh without them hanging over you. How can you argue with that?

So Galen and I went down to a dock on the Willamette River, armed with a few slices of bread and a year’s worth of baggage. After we sat down and threw a few pieces in, some Canada Geese came over and started eating the bread. We joked that the birds were going to get sick later, but didn’t think much of it.

Then the geese came up right next to us and waited for us to throw bread directly into their mouths.

Then a few seagulls appeared.

Then there was a staggering number of seagulls circling overhead.

Then the seagulls and the Canada Geese were all cawing and squawking and fighting over our sins.

And then we hightailed it out of there. As we were leaving, I turned to Galen and said, “Next year, we’ll throw them from a bridge…”


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Filed under About Me, Deep Thoughts, Keeping Portland Weird

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