Yesterday we observed the Tisha B’Áv fast in memory of the destruction of the ancient Holy Temple.  It is a very somber day, one of self-reflection, of abstinence, and of repent. As I prayed, and fasted, I began to reflect upon the timing of the fast.

This year, the fast was pushed off a day, because the 9th day of Av actually was on Shabbat, the Sabbath day.  According to Jewish law, this fast was therefore pushed off a day, so we could properly observe the Sabbath, and the fast in their own merit, and at their own proper times.

The timing of this mourning period during the Gregorian calendar this year is quite unique.  It is exactly a month since the last days of the school year.  Exactly a month ago we began summer vacation. (Yes, I can hardly believe it myself!)

As my mind began to wander through my list of summer to-do’s-that-were-not-done in July, I stopped myself and said “What have I done, and what can I still do this month?” And, once I spun it in this light, it all made sense.  I have spent time with family visiting from abroad.  I have stopped to do fun arts and crafts projects with the kids.  I have baked cookies, cakes and other concoctions with the kids.  I have just taken a few minutes of each day for myself to stop, and truly think about my day.

So, as we began this new part of summer, I decided to take a nature walk in our neighborhood with my youngest daughter.  She in her jammies, me in my sneakers and workout clothing.  I skipped running to the gym, and just enjoyed spending a few precious minutes of walking and enjoying my daughter’s company. Soon, we began to listen to the various sounds around us.  We found birds chirping in a palm tree, cicadas singing in a tree trunk, we heard crickets singing a song, children laughing, neighbors eating dinner, and everyone enjoying a peaceful summer eve.

It was a perfect way to enjoy the new month ahead.  A perfect way to stop, reflect, and look forward to another month of family, good times, and summer bliss.  And, I only realized this as I held onto my daughter’s hand, and watched her delight at the simple pleasures of summer.This was a Half-Time show that rocked my world more than any concert could do.  I am looking forward to the second half of the game!