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Rabbi Lyon's Blog - 08_02_2013
08/01/2013 07:00 AM Posted by:

From the Desk of Rabbi David Lyon
August 2, 2013

 

Vacation. It’s over. The days have passed but the feelings remain. Lisa and I enjoyed a beautiful two-day drive to Colorado; not the part through Dumas, Texas, but just beyond it as we reached the foothills of the Rockies. Our destination was Aspen, where the combination of air, scenery, food, hiking, fishing and friends reset all the familiar buttons that previously set our days into motion.  Getting away to Aspen, however, is not about escaping. We genuinely love seeing friends from Houston we would otherwise fail to see were it not for a special 4th of July party, casual encounters and long talks on the trails, or a summer drink with Aspen summer regulars.

                If you asked me what my favorite experience was this summer, I would tell you that it was a tie for first-place. Fly-fishing went very well this summer. We floated down the Elk River in a fishing boat with a guide manning the oars, the flies and the gear. My casting was better, except for one hook in a tree behind me. But, I mended the line and waited patiently for rainbow and brown trout. The conditions were right; the weather was cool and there was nothing but time. I counted and the guide validated ten fish for the rabbi (catch & release). Not too shabby.

                Reading and writing were never so rewarding. Every day at 7:00am, I woke up, made a pot of coffee for the household and headed outside with my books and laptop to read and write in the cool weather. With mountain views in front of me, it wasn’t difficult to get into the mood to reflect. I can’t say that I wasn’t interrupted, but birds, chipmunks and early golfers on the 16th hole were very welcome sights. I read for pleasure and wrote notes for pieces that I might use during the year from the pulpit or in a weekly blog. A couple of hours later the whole house stirred awake and we headed out for what would be another memory-building day.

                At the end of our stay, we revisited old feelings. Leaving our friends and the mountains behind is never easy. With hugs and promises to visit in Houston, we buckled up and headed home. This year, Lisa and I left town via Independence Pass, a road known for inducing fear in easily unnerved drivers. Lisa took her place in the passenger seat, which meant that she was closest to the edge of the road where there were few guardrails and mostly sheer cliffs to her immediate right. I was in the driver’s seat, cautiously inching our way up the road following the posted speed-limits to a tee, while keeping an eye on Lisa, who was, by this time, breathing into a brown paper bag. When we reached the Continental Divide, we got out to stretch our legs as other tourists were doing. At 12,095 ft. elevation and 50 degrees in mid-July, the landscape seemed alien to us. But, as we walked the short path to the scenic-viewing post, we were overwhelmed by the beauty. Lisa took pictures and spent extra time to soak in the vistas. Back in the warm car, we quickly remembered that “what goes up must come down”. Heading down the steeply pitched road, I held the car steady. Once we were no longer driving at a 45-degree angle to the horizon and with relief in our eyes, we looked at each other and said, “We did it!”

                We stopped for the night at the hot springs in Ojo Caliente, New Mexico. They were a perfect way to prepare for the long flat drive east through Amarillo and then southeast towards Houston. Coming home wasn’t disappointing owing to the promises we kept to make our vacation a special time with dear friends and most importantly with each other. Now, I’m ready to return to the pulpit and my duties at Beth Israel. As I do, I want to say thank you to Rabbi Scott and Rabbi Miller for tending to all our congregants’ needs in July, and to Kathy Knott for always being there for those who depend on us every day. Most of all, thank you for letting me tell you my stories, and for the reunions I look forward to sharing with you in coming days.

                Shabbat Shalom.

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