Back in the Saddle

Back in the Saddle

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Summertime is typically quiet, restful, and hot. For me, it was quiet because my schedule focused on family. Lisa and I traveled to see children and grandchildren in Durham, Albany, and Dallas. Air travel isn’t much fun these days, but we experienced few delays and arrived with gifts and hugs. Our grandchildren, 4.5, 13 months, and 6 months, all have unique personalities and needs, but they all crave time with their Pops and Sunni Ma. We pushed them on the swing, ate gummy worms and ice-cream, and played dinosaurs on the floor with growls and screams, followed by books and stories. Along the way, we visited my mother in Silver Spring, and introduced her to her third great-grandchild. It was a joy for her and for us.

Summertime was restful, too. With fewer demands, we accomplished some delayed projects at home. I know my skill set, so I left the painting, climbing, and repairing to people who do these things for a living. It allowed me to do what I do best. In a good chair, with a great cup of coffee, I enjoyed reading some very good books, and making notes for blogs, sermons, and articles. Just a short bout of Covid caught me off-guard, and delayed my arrival in the mountains.

Away from the heat, I eventually found my breath and energy, again. Accompanied by good friends and surrounded by natural beauty, I returned to my favorite places in nature on paths and along rivers. One day, while looking for a place to sit in the park, I followed my instincts. Turning one way and then the other, I found the most perfect seat on a rock by a small waterfall. I pulled my book from my backpack and read for an hour in the shade. It was amazingly restorative. On another day, I rode the gondola to the top of the mountain. Alone in the gondola and always afraid of heights, it was a 17-minute ride in the dark with my eyes closed. When the gondola shook from side-to-side before it docked, I held on for dear life. Emerging from the gondola a bit pale, the young operator said, “Welcome to the top,” which is what I think he said, so I muttered, “Thanks, good to be here.” At the top, I found a mountain yoga class in-session. I sat nearby and watched and listened to them move and stretch against the mountain backdrop. I called it “vicarious yoga,” which it turns out is the best yoga for me.

My return to Houston came on-time. Though I wished to stay longer in the mountains after a delayed arrival, time with friends, good food and laughter, and time for contemplation and renewal, made my return welcome and anticipated. The heat is never welcome, but it, too, was not unanticipated. Back at my desk now, I’m eager to see you, to lead and participate, and to enter a New Year that is truly sweet, prosperous, and hopeful.

Before I see you this Shabbat, let me thank Rabbi Adrienne Scott, Cantor Kenneth Feibush, and David Scott, for their leadership on Shabbat in the Gordon Chapel, at the Torah study table on Shabbat morning, and for tending to the congregation’s needs in my absence. Though I was tuning in, livestreaming, and responding where I could, it was very comforting to know that such able, caring, and devoted leaders were present during the month of July. As we all return to our places before school begins and fall schedules resume, tell me what you did this summer. Did you travel? How are the kids and grandkids? What did you see, eat, and celebrate? How did your plans prepare you for the New Year?  

Enjoy your summer in good health and in cool climes. I look forward to seeing you all very soon.              


Back in the Saddle 3