So I was waiting at a bus stop the other day, swaying with boredom, when my sleepy eyes happened to notice something unusual as they scanned a nearby lawn.

I saw some long flat things lying on the ground – they looked like giant waxed beans. But neither yellow nor green, they were a washed-out beige.

I couldn’t fathom what they were, but when my gaze slowly travelled up, I saw more of the things hanging from a tree. (I’ve since Googled them and learned that they were ash-tree seed pods.)

Ash tree seed pods
Photo (cc) by Doug Zwick

Here’s the thing. On the tree, the pods looked a nice, healthy plump pale green.

But on the ground they looked brownish, marred with pox-like speckles all over.

As I stared from one to the other, the healthy to the sick, the sick to the healthy, a sharp analogy flashed in my mind. Bear with me now. The nice green ones still on the tree? To health! To life! To intelligent, new life. You and me and our descendants. Toward a sublime future.

Those fallen sick pods? Trump and cohorts, neo-Nazis, evil narcissists, greedy, selfish, enviro-killers who –

Whoa! Then I had another thought. Those grungy pods will eventually disintegrate into dust. They will be reabsorbed into the ground, and in some oblique way will help to nourish the soil… and future trees, future pods, and on and on.

So even the evildoers will be good for something in the end. Sigh. Therein lies hope.

And then my bus came.


*L’Chaim is Hebrew for “to Life.”  I thought it was a fitting theme for the approaching Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah (literally, Head of the Year), which takes place this year on September 21 and 22. Happy New Year! To Life!


4 thoughts on “L’Chaim*

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