Nature’s Beauty

For years, all I focused on was the filth: the dirt, the dust, the garbage alongside some of the roads, the stench of chickens cooped up or of burning rubber. Israel has a lot of it. Every trip we made I saw it or smelled it—the potential threat of jukim (Hebrew for cockroaches) creeping along the tile floor of my house, the lice epidemic among young children, the limited choice of roads in a tiny country surrounded by water on one side and enemies on the others.

“I don’t even see the beauty,” I sometimes whined to Philippe while discussing our move. “Really there are only two to three roads that go north and south, and I get so sick of them. All I see out the window is dirt! There’s always traffic and no such thing as the Taconic or 684!”

On day three, our first Saturday night in the country, we went for a walk on the beach with the girls. Herziliya is the closest strip, an easy 10-minute drive without traffic, and evenings are the best time to stroll in the summer when the sun has set but the air is still warm. We parked and headed directly to the water’s shore, where we removed our shoes and sunk the soles of our feet into the sand. Soft and clean and white, the sand molded to our feet. Unlike the Pacific Ocean where I grew up, the Mediterranean is like a bathtub for part of spring, all of summer and most of fall.
We walked about a mile south toward the Herziliya mall, passing cafes and bars and night clubs, with music booming and candles burning and people of all ages sitting and drinking, talking, laughing, enjoying the moment.

If there is one thing I have noticed in all of my visits and time here it is this: the Israelis’ zest for life can be contagious. People party whether in times of peace or stress, during stalled peace talks, random terrorism, even war. They celebrate when a friend or spouse turns 49 or 53, someone moves into a new house, or a child leaves for the army. They call or email last minute to invite you for a barbeque Thursday night, dessert after dinner on Friday, or tea and cake on Saturday afternoon.

On that particular Saturday night, throngs of Israelis sat and sipped a beer or perhaps an iced coffee at 11pm as they watched and listened to the waves roll in on the beach. The moon was a small sliver in the sky and innocent clouds floated by. There was no rain on the horizon and wouldn’t be for weeks. The water looked black, but in daylight it is the color of lapis lazuli blue, like a jewel shimmering in the sun. I have never seen such beauty and cannot believe that it’s only 10 minutes away.

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16 Responses to “Nature’s Beauty”

  1. Sheila Black October 2, 2011 at 3:51 am #

    Aha, so your view is changing towards the positives. Good for you, enjoy all the richness of Israel. Happy New Year to all of you.
    oxoxoxo Sheila

    • Jennifer Lang October 2, 2011 at 6:02 am #

      Thanks and love and happy new years to you two too!

  2. Lauren D. October 2, 2011 at 4:52 am #

    Jen – love the turn around this week…I wish you a year of such walks on the beach. xoxo LD

    • Jennifer Lang October 2, 2011 at 6:02 am #

      Gam lach! xo

  3. Cathleen B October 2, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    Beautiful writing!

  4. Annette K October 2, 2011 at 6:43 pm #

    Nice to see the change in your perspective. Look forward to your pieces.
    Happy New Year!!!

    • Jennifer Lang October 2, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

      Happy wonderful year to you as well… please send my love to one and all you know where.

  5. Werner Hengst October 3, 2011 at 12:47 am #

    Now you’re talking. The secret of a happy life: Learn to celebrate the good, ignore the bad, tolerate the in-between.

    • Jennifer Lang October 3, 2011 at 4:52 am #

      Great motto to live by, Werner, much appreciated!

  6. Doris Fankhauser October 3, 2011 at 3:17 am #

    well, so happy to hear! We strolled along the gulf of Mexico in Galveston, Texas while we were in Houston over this weekend for the wedding of my son, a real wonderful occasion for our family

    • Jennifer Lang October 3, 2011 at 5:09 am #

      Congratulations! It sounds beautiful as well. Jen

  7. Kim October 3, 2011 at 11:54 am #

    A tug of war edged you to the other side–one of those good to be alive moments, I imagine/hope you will go to the beach often.

    • Jennifer Lang October 3, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

      Thanks, Kim!!!! I like that expression–tug of war–and think it’s exactly that… Keep on writing! Jennifer

  8. Ellen Atzmon October 6, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

    May the sweetness of the contagious zest carry you through.
    Lots of love

    • Jennifer Lang October 6, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

      I hope so b/c today I feel down… xo

  9. Amy Klein October 7, 2011 at 2:34 am #

    Sounds beautiful and wonderful! I love the Mediterranean, and also the Israeli ability to party! It is starting to get quite chilly here, so instead of feeling blue, just be grateful that you can walk in the soft sand instead of pulling out the winter blankets… G’mar Chatimah Tovah and have an easy fast!

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