It's nearly Shabbos in British Columbia.
Some people sit in traffic on their way to dinner dates and movies. They fiddle with the car radio and check the time on their cell phones.
Some have just come home, closing the door on the hard work-week. They drop their bags, they drop their jackets, their shoes. And, heavy with weariness, they drop their bodies too, into the embrace of well-worn armchairs.
There are Jews setting tables and stirring pots of steaming soup, like their grandmothers and great grandmothers before them, except that jazz is playing and the soup has kale in it and some of the pot stirrers are men.
Everywhere in this twilight hour, people hurry, worry, think about dinner, turn on televisions. Pour wine, open books. Dogs, collared and leashed eagerly await their evening walk.
The sky becomes golden pink as the dogs, elated, emerge into the outdoors. They sniff grass and trees, to see who else has been around. Sometimes they meet and sniff each other in pure curiosity, a ritual that is more question mark than exclamation point.
Even in the tall city, where the soil is sheathed in asphalt and cement, the trees outnumber the people. The flowers outnumber the cars. And the grass is uncountable.
This grass, that stretches from one end of the province to the other, from Pacific to Rockies – each blade of it has a melody. If that melody had words, and if we could sit very quietly and long enough, it might sound to our ears like "reach" or "dig" or "light" or simply "I am." The blade of grass can't see its neighbors or the sky, and it doesn't know what a mountain is. But its roots clutch the soil and sip the cool water and, without judgment, touch the roots of its neighbors. "I am," sings the grass.
For the grass, this is Shabbos. For the grass, it is always Shabbos. The simple Shabbos of"I am."
A pair of angels, great, translucent and multicolored like rainbows on soap bubbles, survey the scene. They eye the whole province. Seagulls shrieking over fishing boats. Pencils working crossword puzzles and couples dozing on sofas. Traffic roaring. Jews singing Lecha Dodi, their eyes adjusting to the growing darkness and reaching the first twinkle of stars. The sound of rivers running over rocks like a joyful clapping. Grass reaching. Owls waking. All of life breathing.
The angels survey all of this, Shabbat falling in British Columbia. One angel dissolves into a prayer which, if it were in words, would go: "So may it be again next week." At which the other angel bursts into a scent of lilac which, if it were in words, would go: "Ken yehi ratzon, may it be so."
And the grass and the water and the mountain respond, "I am."