To Celebrate Life

I eat nuts with coats hard to crack,

learn to peel a pomegranate,

knowing there are things unknowable;

inedible, like shells, but beneath that

are healthful wonders that shine as pearls,

such are the deepest mysteries wrapped

in garments that help shield the world,

I eat soft fruits with hard, uneaten pits,

sweet ripe plums, cherries, peaches,

knowing in the joyous knowledge we digest

some truths are hard, beyond our reaches

or take us off guard in our life quests,

I eat fruits with no inedible bits,

blueberries, carob, raisons, figs,

knowing I am part of the whole

but must not consume all there is.

I eat fruit with both tough shield and stone,

like mango, avocado, or watermelon,

knowing the worth of a difficult path,

and the value of all needing protection,

the times when all you need do is laugh,

and that no life is made for rejection,

and after I’ve eaten enough of these

I’m full, with the nutrients I need,

no blood spilt, on this day the circle

is unbroken, not even a root to pull,

The Tree has spoken, I hear her call.

Journey with me into a cosmology of creation,

for the hand that holds the moon is waiting,

Torah is words, and words are vibrations

and all of nature is made of them,

including you and I, as humans,

we are links in a chain reaction

that keeps alive all beings’ realms,

from roots, to trunk, to vegetation,

from earthy elements, past sun,

to the crown of ultimate union;

four realms, or layers of reality,

of ourselves, of creativity

form roots to shoots of the Tree,

open your well to this mystery,

four elements, four currents,

four winds of convergence

that bring the Tree of Life’s emergence,

Assiyah, divine realm of the Earth,

the physical, growth and giving birth,

this is the realm most manifest,

of love, endurance, senses, flesh,

linked to the soul aspect, Nefesh,

then the divine realm of Yetzirah,

this is the breath that ripples water,

the realm of feelings, mirrors, aura,

of truths obscured or made far clearer,  

linked to the soul aspect called Ruach,

then the divine realm of Briyah,

the realm of intellect, dreams, air,

thought, intention, wit, words, wonder,

linked to the soul aspect, Neshama,

then the divine realm of Atzilut,

the realm of the fire that circles,

we, each sparks of a light eternal

when we pray, God prays within us,

the aspects of soul linked to this, and ether,

are those we named Chaya and Yechidah.

We gather, with ancient texts and sacred seder,

eating different fruits to help us understand,

from Assiyah to Atzilut, we are of Shechinah;

we too are fruit of the great garden,

red wine dropped in white to shift its colour

as seasons shift across this hallowed land

that we were made guardians of, forever;

May all the sparks scattered by our hands,

May all the wind that flows through words,

May all the waters that vein all regions.

May all seeds spread across the world

by our hands, our voice, our choice, our circumstance

or by the hands, voice, choice of ancestors,

or, by the falling short of humans, of us

hurting the fruit of the Tree; fellow creatures;

the human and more than human worlds,

be redeemed, returned, included with insight

in the majestic splendour of our Tree of All Life.

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

Below: Kindling and Awakening, a multi-media art piece.

For those with sight impairments: The background is abstract blue and green with foliage and the outline of a tree, a moondial and snowflakes overlayed with threads of the seed of life design in the colour of sunlight. In the foreground are two women. A younger one stands with a lantern, a slightly older one sits holding a candle. They blend with their surroundings somewhat, and the light sources they hold connect them to one another and to the seed of life pattern.