I am the queen of masking tape. Labels are my forte. This has been true ever since I was a tot, although in the beginning I was unsophisticated. I lacked imagination and scope, perhaps vocabulary. Undeterred, I wrote my name in huge letters on everything I thought should be mine, most notably in books. It seemed to work.

As I progressed through elementary school, I discovered the joys of word choice, note cards, and multicolored subject dividers, but it wasn't till I became a teenager that I really hit my stride. Things needing to be labeled seemed to jump out of the woodwork. My older brother and I shared a basement bathroom, and one morning I noticed we had twin dental floss containers migrating around the medicine cabinet. I took a piece of masking tape and labeled one "Brother Bear" and the other "Sister Bear." It was the obvious thing to do (for a life-long fan of the Berenstein bears).

I was probably trying to demonstrate that there is no such thing as "a vicissitude," singularRecently, I found a bottle of ketchup with a piece of masking tape on it bearing the word "vicissitude" in my handwriting. I don't remember why I did that. I was probably trying to demonstrate that there is no such thing as "a vicissitude," singular. If there was such a thing, it might very well look like a ketchup bottle.

Labels can also be used to instruct and enlighten. After an overseas journey which had been marred only by a pair of uncomfortable shoes, I came home with a can of "leather stretching spray" with an exotic, genuine foreign-language label. I offered it to my mother. She did not want it. She said she couldn't think of where to put it so that people would know where to find it when they needed it, so what was the point of keeping it altogether? Indeed, she wanted to throw it out.

This was something up with which I could not put. The can was my donation to the family coffers. I did not want it tossed out simply because my poor family members would not know where to find it in their moments of pinch-toed desperation.

I told my mother not to worry and to leave the stashing of the can to me. I placed it next to the shoe polish on the shoe polish shelf. Then I took an index card and printed on it, as legibly as I could:

Please note: Those who wish to expand their shoes will find the appropriate canister near the shoe polish. (Those who wish to expand their consciousnesses will need to seek elsewhere.) – The Assistant Management

I taped the card on the inside of the closet door. Now, always and forever, people seeking to expand their consciousnesses will know not to do it in that particular closet.

But there are some things that I have been trying to label for years and fallen short. Grass. Sunshine. The lovely vicissitudes of weather.

I can revel, though. A few years ago, I lay flopped between the cool tile walls of the public garden in Seville, Spain. The hot sunshine, the struggling and dusty greenery, even the ants, filled me with contentment. Every now and then I sat up and burst into song, startling the occasional passerby. I took pictures of the burning sunlight lighting up the grass. I felt the sun in my hair, which felt like a personal blessing from G‑d, and took pictures of my hair.

The developed pictures did not express the full extent of the sunlit parade that the world had been that day. Nor could I paint it. One August day after I returned home, I tried. I crouched on the hot pavement and covered sheets of paper with shades of green and blue. I found that acrylic paint melts, which is good to know, I think. But my paintings did not convey the full liveliness of the universe. In the spirit of making lemonade, I taped plastic lizards to my melted paintings and gave them to my little brother.

Sometimes the whole world seems to be in motion, expressing something. It is something which I have been unable to replicate in paint or words. Maybe it is impossible, because I am only human. This is why I am looking forward to Birkat Hachamah… With our words and with our early a.m. presence, we will be putting a giant Post-It note on the universe:

Made by G‑d.

Thank you.