We are rolling around to Elul now. It feels too soon, and yet, it also feels right on time.

Too soon, because Elul always comes too soon. I’m never really ready. And right on time, because it’s impossible to be ready. The clock ticks, the calendar days fly by, and IT arrives, whatever IT may be. A wedding, a birth, death, the start of a new school year, Shabbat, a difficult conversation—whatever it is we are awaiting, it always comes too soon—or sometimes not soon enough—and it always comes on time.

And so, we pull out the shofar to begin blowing or hearing it every morning, a reminder to wake up and get ready for the Yamim Noraim, the Days of Awe, the super-intensity of trying to let go of our defects and come closer to the Mystery. We acknowledge that summer will again draw to a close, always too soon. We watch the sun set earlier each day and light our Shabbat candles earlier each week, but always, always, on time, on their time, on the time of the Universe and of God.

Welcome to this year’s Earth Etudes for Elul, written by environmentalists, poets, rabbis and others, with bits of reflection and wisdom on Earth and teshuvah for your journey through this month. Enjoy and b’hatzlachah—good luck with this year’s efforts for personal change!

Elul tov—may you have a good and wondrous Elul.

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