I got back a few hours ago from my second of two High Holy Day rehearsals.
It felt very different than before. The music is in my breath and bones; I always knew it well, but the little crevices are now filled. Singing Shaharit this afternoon was like a deep friendship where you finish the other person's sentences and roll your eyes at their flaws, but always stick around with love and laughter. I was almost there last year, but we were still too polite. Now, the fifth time around, I can relax and wait for the other--the congregation, musicians, the very sound in the room--to give an expected answer, rather than be surprised by the response.
My concentration also seems to have deepened, for better or worse, and a few times this afternoon I had little sense of where I was, or even why. (I walked out of the Sanctuary thinking I had to get ready for Shabbat, and then remembered it was Sunday. Maybe I'm just tired, or starting to lose my mind.) But at the same time I was also more in control, completely aware of the flow and energy required and able to modulate it as needed.
At least I think I can do these things--once it happens for real, all bets are off. I didn't expect this feeling of reaching a new, unexplored level, and can only imagine the twists and turns ahead. It reminds me of being on a swing, my favorite activity as a kid, when I would hold on with all my strength and go as high as possible, always in control yet never so. I'd tilt my head back at the very top of the arc and see the world upside-down--still the same old sky, but also new and different.
Today also tilted in a better direction since this morning's post: my friend and I made up; my other friend's aunt will be OK; I stopped procrastinating and sat down to write; no cold at the moment, knock wood; and I'm set for Tuesday dinner, thanks to a roving farmer's market that practically slapped me in the face at my doorstep. Worried about food? said God. Relax, I'll bring it here. I now have an amazing apple pie from a Southern-style bakery in Harlem, and perfect kosher pickles from the Lower East Side, so that my friends and I can welcome in a wonderfully sweet (and sour) new year.