Robert Frost

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

I had not encountered this Frost poem before sitting down to write this column. I find it speaks to me, as I contemplate the approach of Yom Kippur as well as the turning of the year reflected in shortening days and lengthening nights. Regardless of Frost’s imploring, he understands the inevitability of leaf-fall, of dying light, of frost-burned leaves.

Autumn is my favorite season, bringing with its burnished palette, the open-armed embrace of my favorite flannel shirt waiting in my closet like an old friend, and opportunities to experience that quality that the Danish call hygge, (pronounced “hoo-guh,”) connoting “coziness and comfortable conviviality.” My quintessential autumnal hygge experience involves a mug of tea, a good book, warm ambient lighting, soft music and a cat on my lap.

Truth be told, part of the appeal of autumn is the release it brings from the frantic pace of a Cape Cod summer. When people inquire about the rhythm of our synagogue’s life I answer truthfully, “We’re busy through the winter and even busier in the summer!” All of that busy-ness is a blessing, a reflection of the vibrant Jewish life we’ve created and sustained in this community, but I am always ready for a bit of hygge once the fall holy days are behind me.

May the new year–5780–that we’ll usher in during the month of October bring us many hygge moments, to sustain and renew us as we circle back to another Cape summer.