My Sabbath

The author during her first August in the Hamptons, 1971.
The author during her first August in the Hamptons, 1971.

All our life should be a pilgrimage to the seventh day; the thought and appreciation of what this day may bring to us should be ever present in our minds. For the Sabbath is the counterpoint of living; the melody sustained throughout all agitations and vicissitudes which menace our conscience; our awareness of God’s presence in the world.

—Abraham Joshua Heschel
The Sabbath

IF THE SEVENTH day is the Sabbath of my week, August is the Sabbath of my year. For most of my life, August has meant vacation. As a child, my parents would pack my brother and me into the station wagon, head to the ferry dock on the Connecticut side of Long Island Sound, and float across the water to the Hamptons, where my mother’s best friend, Patti, lived.

August meant long days in the sun at the beach and long dinners around Patti’s table with fresh zucchini, snap peas, tomatoes, and corn from the farm stand down the road. Some days—some of the most magical of my childhood—before dinner, Patti would hand me a little metal bucket and lead me across her gravel road to a bramble-laden field where we’d pick blueberries.

Nearly 40 years on, the muscle-memories I have of plucking those indigo gems from their prickly rests have not faded a bit. While I usually collect my blueberries these days from Trader Joe’s, I still pick through the berries as Patti taught me to, looking for the few errant green stems left behind by the processing plant.

For me, there is a palpable spiritual connection between the slow rhythm of August and the gentle beckoning of the Sabbath—a sacred time to slow down and realign myself with my family and my Creator, to rest, replenish, and allow myself to be inspired.

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