Tag Archives: nature

Every teardrop is a waterfall

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Our recent Sukkot holiday found us in one of the most beautiful areas of Israel. In the foothills of the Golan a series of rivers snake through the cliffs and canyons providing welcome relief to the searing heat in the summer and dramatic deluges in the winter and spring. The Hermon is Israel’s highest mountain, bordering Syria and at the edge of Lebanon. It’s hard to believe that this beauty and majesty is the backdrop to wars and terror. The fields in this area are fenced and signs warn of unexploded mines from past conflicts. Disused buildings are peppered with bullet holes and the army presence is hard to ignore. But on a beautiful day, when the sky is blue the colours are alive and fish and crabs that live in the clear waters swim peacefully it is good to take a breath, drink in the scenery and try to forget man’s cruelty and the sadness it brings and let nature do the talking.

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Here comes the rain again

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October in Israel brings Rosh Hashannah, Yom Kippur and my favourite of all the holidays, Sukkot.  You may remember my ramblings about the Sukkah (Succah, Sukka?) that we build in the garden every year. Where we eat, where I spend my evenings quaffing vino and where the kids play.  This year, true to form we decorated with what I can only refer to as Christmas decorations, the kids drew pictures and I, true to form, drank more than my fair share of grape juice.

This time of year in my opinion is when Israel is at its most beautiful.  As the terrible heat and humidity of the summer months begins to lift, the skies become clearer and you can actually see the hills of the neighbouring West Bank as opposed to the heat haze which covers them for 60% of the year.  Beautiful.  The colours of the spring and summer are hard to beat, spring flowers followed by the garish borganvillia and the stunning purple of the jacaranda.IMG_2261 But for me, Autumn tops them all as the trees begin to show their wares.  Olives, oranges, lemons and carob laden the branches and the long awaited ability to get out and about without a) overheating b) seeking refuge under a shady tree or c) wishing we’d gone to the pool instead.

 

 

In the nearby Judean Hills is Park Britannia, a history or nature buffs dream.  As a wedding present some of my old friends bought us some trees in this park and ever since my first visit (to see(!) our trees) it has held a special place in my heart.  A favourite pastime of ours is to head up there on a Saturday, find a quiet spot with friends, explore with the childers and picnic with the ants.

With Sukkot comes the rain, light at first followed by a couple of blustery storms.  The mosquitoes go crazy as the puddles turn into frantic spawning grounds for the little blighters, the childers insist on donning wellies despite it being 30 degrees outside (little blighters) and finally my lawn (the scrappy grass in my garden)  becomes green again.

On a shallow note I should add that the joy of being able to wear more clothes and pull a pair of jeans on again also has its benefits, no more podgy white thighs or burnt shoulders on show.  But maybe that’s just me.  Welcome Autumn you have been missed.

Coat of Many Colours

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At the side of the main coastal highway, wedged between the railway tracks and the noisy traffic there is a field.

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Israel has donned its Spring time coat of many, many colours.

The red stretches as far as the eye can see.  The poppies in this field have not been in bloom for 3 years ( I know, I check every year after being blown away by its beauty 3 years ago), and then the earth, the climate, the time was right and they made a re-appearance in their full glory.

Mother Nature, not satisfied with one colour added a dash of yellow,

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a smattering of white,

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and a surprise clump of purple just for the hell of it

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IMG_1829Fluttering in amongst the blooms and resting on the dry earth were hundreds of butterflies.  We tried and failed to capture them with the iphone camera (no.1 son was convinced he could catch one) but failed dismally.  This is the best we could do. You just have to trust me that there were a lot and they were beautiful.  I don’t know what’s happened this year but the sky is swarming with butterflies.  At a red traffic light the other day I counted 28 fly past my windscreen and I don’t like to think how many my windscreen killed once the lights turned to green.

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In  corners of the field we found nature’s hedgerows in the form of enormous thistles and the prickly pear cactus. Ah! Here’s another butterfly.

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The colour overload continued even in the dirt paths skirting the edge of the field,

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so the view back towards our neighbourhood provided welcome green relief for our irises. (The field is avocado trees which you may be able to see are also in blossom)

IMG_1833One day, when I grow up, I will own and know how to use a proper camera and not rely on the snaps from my trusty phone to capture such images.  I apologise to all photographers. I know that I cannot even try to do the field justice but I wanted to share.  In the words of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber;
It was red and yellow and green and brown
And scarlet and black and ochre and peach
And ruby and olive and violet and fawn
And lilac and gold and chocolate and mauve
And cream and crimson and silver and rose
And azure and lemon and russet and grey
And purple and white and pink and orange
And red and yellow and green and brown and
Scarlet and black and ochre and peach
And ruby and olive and violet and fawn
And lilac and gold and chocolate and mauve
And cream and crimson and silver and rose
And azure and lemon and russet and grey
And purple and white and pink and orange
And blue