The Late Year By Marge Piercy: Reading and Meditation

September 21, 2020  • Todd Breyfogle

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The sun is smokey red, the leaves are changing, and we have already had snow here in Denver. The change of season matches Marge Piercy’s meditation on the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashanah celebrates the world’s creation, even as (in the Northern Hemisphere), nature begins to put itself to sleep. Rosh Hashanah also marks a period of introspection and repentance, a retrospective sunset in anticipation of the dawn of atonement and renewal. “I repent better in the waning season.” What are the conditions of repentance? What causes me to pause and reflect, to study the pitted and eroded and discolored “rockface of my life”? As the land is separated from water at creation, my life, it would seem, is granite “emerging from the veil of greenery.” What does the map of my life look like? What are its contours? As I judge myself and am judged, what is set in stone, what can be smoothed? What new shape should I strive for in the waning of the season which is also the newness of the year?

Todd Breyfogle, Denver, Colorado

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