Who would have ever thought that last week I would be living in quaint New England with the trees just beginning to show their glorious color, and this week...the Judean hills of Israel. You just never know where life will take you.
My flights were just fine, getting to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv was just fine, traveling from Jerusalem to Moshav Kisalon was a little hair raising I must admit, but, just fine. In fact life is just fine right now. It's actually all that I expected.
The moshav is outside of Jerusalem about 25 minutes or so heading, um, southwest. It's nestled in the Judean hills so when I look out the back I can see terraced hills with all sorts of vegetation. The hills are terraced naturally and, with old, old stone wall terracing similar to the New England stone fences but not so much.
The sounds around the moshav are not like Jerusalem! In the distance I can see huge chicken coops and every morning they are clucking their little brains out. I can also hear a rooster or two very early in the morning. Then, sometime, midday, the sound disappears and I can just hear birds or every now and then a dog. The greatest surprise is hearing jackals during the night. I can't quite tell if they are crying, laughing, kevetching or what. They're loud but they don't last for long.
We are finishing up the holiday of Sukkot so the country has been on holiday, kids are off of school and there are special festivals. On Monday we went to a festival at Liberty Park in Jerusalem. Street performers, an Irish band, fairies and giraffes on stilts, a circus with acrobatics, food, and even an Israeli hip hop dance troupe...what greater welcome to Israel than this.
Yesterday we packed a lunch and went to an organic farm and picked fresh vegetables. We ate fresh edamame, plum tomatoes, sunflower seeds right from the dried sunflower. Really good. Everyone seems to be enjoying the holiday time as all of the high holidays of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot are coming to an end.
If you don't know, Sukkot is a pilgrimage festival that commemorates the forty years in which the ancient Israelites spent in the wilderness following the Exodus. Families now erect sukkot on their balconies or in their yards out of wood or tarps or plastic sheeting but the roof is made of palm branches. It's a little hut like thing that is decorated inside with hanging fruits and vegetables. Ours has children's paintings on the walls and a dancing apple and banana hanging from the ceiling. Meals are supposed to be eaten in the sukkot during Sukkot. The very religious Jews even sleep in their sukkot. We've eaten a few meals out there overlooking the hills. Uh, no sleeping.
What better way to begin a year in Israel than to be a part of her rhythms.