KJ Hannah Greenberg

Little Things

I feel old, but my friends are older. Bli ayin hara, I’m in my sixties while some of my buddies are in their seventies or eighties. On balance, others of my gal pals are in their forties or fifties All in all, life’s dimensions, including “aging,” are relative, We oughtn’t to confuse “time passing” with “sustaining function.”

As for me, I’m a safta who has somehow merited to ripen in the world’s most hallowed place, Israel. I’m glad that, here, seniors are not judged by how much we cost society but are held close because of our extended existence.

Sure, my advancing years, as represented by my physical losses, are observable. I need to pick up our kitten to play with him, rather than bend toward him or situate myself on the floor nearby. Equally, I possess evolved professional skills. To wit, I reject unfair offers of compensation—I’ve more than forty years of writing, editing, and teaching experience and am no longer that twenty-something who was desperate to practice for free or for a less-than-equitable wage.

Ultimately, though, it’s not life’s tolls nor any resulting, beneficial ferments that matter. What’s important is that I funnel my remaining time into increased appreciation. It’s vital for me to be grateful for all manner of little things.

Such as, when I reach for half-sized tissues and find full-sized ones in their place, I deem myself treated. When my outdoor garden looks droopy and then, suddenly, The Boss sends quenching rains, I’ve likewise been accorded kindness. If I’m to completely embrace my days and nights, I must employ gramercy for such occurrences.

The wrong way round, has v’shalom, if I took events for granted, my goings-on would be diminished. If I propose to avoid spiritual darkness, I oughtn’t to try to fathom the universe by relying on the discourse of persons who embrace contrary dogma or who otherwise try to invalidate Torah living. Bird song deserves to be lauded. Grandchildren should be viewed as precious miracles. It behooves me to step away from people who discount life’s treasures.

Moreover, whether I talk to myself or engage in exchanges with other folks, my communication needs to insure that I’m accountable for how I interpret reality. It’s nice that I’m able to inhale petrichor after storms and to see sunsets reflected on the limestone facades of Jerusalem’s buildings. I need to keep on acknowledging my duty to the Aibishter publicly  and privately.

Sometimes, individuals with disparate worldviews act similarly to me. During the recent pandemic, for instance, collective attitudes shifted. “Worth” was no longer assigned to glittery objects, but to flesh and blood. The global calamity forced us, overall, to re-evaluate our tenets. Temporarily, humanity behaved as though distinguishing itself vis-à-vis artificial topoi was fallacious.

Yet, there exist many bases for invention. Communicative utility and parsimony don’t  uniquely apprise creativity. The degree of verisimilitude among linguistic and metalinguistic perceptions is influenced by our choice of communication channels, too. For example, during the height of COVID, local publications featured few real estate ads. At present, however, such pages constitute the majority of those periodicals’ promotions.

Meanwhile, civilization is slowly returning to “normal.” Whereas offsite work, Zoom-based family gatherings and TeleMed have lingered, sadly, not so the shared, adjusted outlook. I once more overhear associates talking about “bigger” as meaning “better” sma’achot. I again witness peers pressuring their children into gainful employment, with “gainful” referencing “high income.” I once again see neighbors kicking community cats and disregarding stray kittens’ yelps.

Innovation is ordinarily interdependent with social standards. Conceptual genesis and conceptual distinctiveness are mere degrees on the process of origination’s scale. Social variables effect the relationship of syntax to semantics and pragmatics. These nexes cannot be ignored at either the microscopic or macroscopic levels if  we are to grasp how we frame twists of fate. What we say to ourselves and what we say to the people populating our lives depends on how we comprehend truth.

Today, I strive to notice and to express indebtedness for all that G-d does for me. I will never have power over other individuals; I can only transform me. Although my perspective doesn’t adequately respond to the logical dilemmas inherent in manipulating self-referential and self-replicating statements, it enables me to accept and to celebrate the Almighty’s sovereignty as well as to be wholly content.

From the beautiful, seasonal modifications in the color of deciduous trees’ leaves, to the oscillating energy of the geckos and other lizards that scamper by my front door, to hourly changes in outdoor temperatures, my life is built from goodness. All that is required of me is to be aware that I’m steeped in bounty and to offer up thanks for those many little things, for those many mighty blessings.

About the Author
KJ Hannah Greenberg has been playing with words for an awfully long time. Initially a rhetoric professor and a National Endowment for the Humanities Scholar, she shed her academic laurels to romp around with a prickle of imaginary hedgehogs. Thereafter, her writing has been nominated once for The Best of the Net in poetry, three times for the Pushcart Prize in Literature for poetry, once for the Pushcart Prize in Literature for fiction, once for the Million Writers Award for fiction, and once for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. To boot, Hannah’s had more than forty books published and has served as an editor for several literary journals.