So — where to start? It is definitely a new beginning — and an ending, and also an ongoing middle to this story. A new chapter. I arrived at the townhouse at Oak Street Co-op, on Cornwall St, Toronto, at about 7:00 p.m, on Friday August 31, after a final packing up during the day, greeting the new owner (unexpectedly) and showing him around; saying goodbye to my neighbour, who dug up some iris (for herself, for me, for another couple of neighbours), and took the last batch of donations.
And now, it is a matter of settling in here — less pressure, no deadlines — and after several days (it is now Tuesday, the day after Labour Day), I feel the transition is going smoothly. The Jewish month of Elul is usually devoted to cleaning and clearing and turning before the start of the New Year, on the first day of Tishri, and this certainly has been one of those times, emotionally and physically, and spiritually, too. One of Roger’s and my projects over the weekend (in addition to unpacking some boxes) was to work on our balcony and outdoor garden, separating the palm tree into several pots, replanting the basil, planting the new iris. We also cooked together, as we like to do. I am aware of changes, the pattern of life left in Hamilton, but even more of the new pattern and rhythms of life here, and the way we are both experiencing this change in our relationship, as well as in our living spacetime. This move is giving me “courage of the heart,” a wonderful phrase/motto from the Netflix show “Sense8,” about empathy, caring, community, and working together.
To be continued…
Listen to Ellen reciting poetry.
“The rule is, jam tomorrow and jam yesterday – but never jam today.” White Queen to Alice, Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There, by Lewis Carroll.
peach and gooseberry
sweet-tart on the tongue
spread on toast, muffins,
bagel with raisins
and cinnamon –
spice of the sabbath
now her body is jamming
itself, cells stuck and clogged
blocking the vital
flowers jam in the garden,
jazz musicians gone wild,
cacophony of tulips
trill of daffodil
violin tones of violets
and weeping redbud,
one gooseberry bush
bursting into flower
to be picked.
Ellen S. Jaffe, 2016
for Sharon H. Nelson (2 January 1948 – 12 June 2016)
published in Persimmon Tree, Summer 2017
- Written on the Body #36, May 9: Mother’s Day
- Written on the Body #35, May 5, 2021: May Day
- Written On the Body #34, April 4, 2021 — New Beginnings, and a Memorial
- Written on the Body #33, March 8, 2021: International Women’s Day
- Written on the Body, #32, March 6, 2021: Some Uncertainty Resolved, Celebrating Black History, and Some Good Points for Uncertainty