As I sit here listening to thunder and rain interrupt unbearable city summer heat, the kind that seems grab your legs and strangle you to the ground the minute you step on pavement, I imagine the moment tomorrow morning as the sun rises, or maybe tries without luck to peek through clouds, and we read about the scariest possible lightning. I also remember a dream from last night, one I've had before. I'm back in Flushing, Queens, where I grew up, walking past the public library on Main St. (much bigger and fancier now than when I was a kid; I tried to find an old photo online, no luck). I'm passing familiar landmarks: LIRR tracks, the Manufacturer's Hanover where I opened a bank account in high school. My favorite shoe store. A Hebrew school and synagogue. This stretch of Main St. was always much emptier than two blocks away by the subway, which smelled of pizza and bus exhaust and was teeming with people carrying big bags of stuff just bought at Gertz or Alexander's. But right past the LIRR I see the white library walls, and then skinny birch trees lining the ten blocks home, as the landscape changes to red brick six-story buildings and an occasional hopscotch game in chalk on sidewalk. In my dream, I'm standing at the corner where the crowds disappear and looking past the library and down the block. I don't think I'm trying to get home, exactly; rather, I'm clearing my head in anticipation of arriving somewhere different, but also comfortable and comforting.
I think this is a Shavuot dream, as well: I'm looking for Torah that's new, but (as long as I remember to open my arms in return) also part of me in the deepest possible way.