I spent the first part of this week at the beach with my brother and my three nephews for the start of the Sukkot holiday.
It was the first time since the start of the pandemic that I had traveled more than 30 miles, and my first time at the beach in 2 years.
For a few days I put aside work and business and most of my writing to be present with my nephews.
To say it was needed would be an understatement.
One of the highlights for me was having a catch with my 11-year old nephew on the beach.
It might have been 30 years since the last time I had put on a baseball glove.
At one point, we paused to take in the ocean and the sand, attuning to and appreciating the sights, smells, sensations, and sounds of our environment.
That moment, standing with my nephew on the beach on the first day of autumn, taking it all in, was a highlight of my year. Maybe a life highlight. I hope it was for him too.
It was one of those clarifying moments that crystallized for me what it truly means to be “productive.”
The world is drowning in information. Wisdom is cheap. What you write or say, even if captured in a book, will be obsolete or overshadowed in time.
As it says in Ecclesiastes, which we read on Sukkot, there’s nothing new under the sun. Everything has already been said.
Experiences are what we remember, if we are present to them. And we don’t need to worry that a cloud snafu will erase them. They live within us.
I wrote some haiku to capture the essence of the moment.
surrender your work
to have a catch on the beach
and make memories
ground your feet in sand
breathe the salty ocean air
savor the moment
fall’s fading daylight
reminds us life is fleeting
be present to now
at the end of days
what your loved ones remember
is what matters most