Sunny afternoons, walks for the soul, and once upon a time in Israel

    The pleasant sun rays danced on my skin as I took a walk on a typical February afternoon with its unusually warm weather. I passed the same rows of houses, the tall pine tree at the end of our street . . . the house with the tallest tree which leaves the most foliage in the fall, then another street corner . . . the house of the oldest man on our street, with the owner himself sitting on his driveway, leaning on his cane and warming himself in the sun. One more turn around the usual scenery and I was done, so much for my attempt for longer walks. No hills to climb, no altitude to take your breath away, no picturesque scenery to get you deep in thought, only longing for those familiar hills surrounding my once home in Israel.

    I could walk for hours in that part of the world and no place can match in beauty and significance than the trodden trails of Judean Hills. Every morning the sun would come up from behind the historic hill right across my window, the biblical site of Kiriath Jearim where the ark of the covenant stood until David took it up to Jerusalem. After a quiet hour of reading in a recliner next to the window, I would go on a long walk and make my way up to the hill of Kiriath Jearim, now settled all around by a small Arabic village of Abu Ghosh, famous for its hummus. A smooth paved road with a steep climb up was the exercise part for the body, while the way back downhill was the exercise part for the soul. Low rolling green hills stretching as far as the Mediterranean, a deep valley just to the right of the road, my own little settlement perched up on a hill at two o’clock, and the serenity all around, all made for a breathtaking view that gave room for the mind to soar. Even the occasional passerbys, either enjoying a morning walk or walking to catch the next bus, didn’t disrupt from the beauty.

    This afternoon I took another walk around the neighborhood and although the scenery has not changed, except for an addition of a few trees in pink blooms, I let my imagination soar to the walks in Israel. Picturing in my mind the curves on the road, the valleys and hills. And although I can’t be present on that frequently walked pathway, I can remember and relive through writing!

    And because posts are better with a photo, here’s one of the Judean Hills from the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands. My favorite, and also the best, and one of its kind, collections of photos from Israel.


    March 1, 2013