I wanted to be a writer but constant pressure to make a living, left me without any time to become one. Covid 19 changed that situation. Now I have nothing else to do but write.
This is the first of my new series, Covid Days.
As we sat finishing our picnic, using a big, flat white rock for a table, two ugly, white cars parked, blocking our view of the river and the orange grove.
The purpose of a picnic is to escape from the world of cars and artificiality, to find relief in nature.
Out stepped two couples, human monsters, looking over our heads, our red flask and sandwiches, searching beyond for a spot of their own. Our outing had been pleasant until they arrived, but they were oblivious to the damage they’d done.
I considered them bad mannered, but wasn't too concerned, because in any case, we had finished our little repast, and had to proceed to our next adventure.
Etie was cursing them for their inconsiderateness, I said leave it alone, you don't have to take the bad behaviour of people so much to heart. it's not conducive to good health. There are so many inconsiderate people around, that if we spend our time criticising them, we'd not only waste our time but also cause considerable heart and headache, to ourselves.
Waving a fond farewell and Bon voyage to the birds, we proceeded to drive very cautiously along the potted sand track to return to the main road that led to the settlement of Cfar Vitkin.
2. The Mosque.
I had done my weekly chore of cleaning and considered my actions of another day ended.
Now it was time for me to sit on my balcony, overlooking the Judean Desert at sunset. I accompany this with a few puffs of Don Pepin Garcia. Today will be the last puff he gives me. The time has come for him to die, crumpled in his own ashes, never to be puffed again.
Man does not live by cigar puffs alone. I also need vegetables and fruit. Two grapefruit per day in Winter, watermelon in Summer and lots of lettuce, tomato and cucumber.
I drive with Etti twice a week to make purchases of these products .
We drive along scenic roads of Israel. Yesterday I photographed the spires of the mosque, as we flashed past the village of Abu Ghosh. Four golden pencil points, reaching upward on long high narrow towers, pointing Heavenwards, the direction a Muslim should gaze to discover the source of his salvation.
I used to frequent the synagogue in much the same way that a Moslem frequents the mosque. Three times a day I participated in communal worship. Coming together to praise the Lord and to ask His bounteous blessing.
I stopped doing this because I cannot tolerate a human carrying out actions like an automaton. One’s humanity depends on making choices and as soon as a person acts on compulsion he endangers his existence as a free thinking individual.
One sleeps for example in order to rest not out of compulsion to carry out a ritual.
I get up at 5 in the morning, sit by my keyboard and type away in the hope of inventing a story. I compel myself to type for an hour.
Yesterday we drove to Gan Sorek, starting out at 9 o’clock, skipping our walk, to be back on time, to meet with Noga in a park in Kiriat Menahem.
We stopped at the same place as last week, where there was a big sign saying “”Pri Hadar”, which is Hebrew for citrus fruit.
By the time we arrived, many cars lined the narrow street leading to Gan Sorek. Some citrus fruit lovers were already loading plastic bags into their shiny new cars and driving off.
Cars with people holding their loot of freshly picked, and purchased citrus fruit were already turning round, to bring the delicious oranges, clementines, pomelos, grapefruit, avocados, pomegranates, lemons and pecan nuts to their lucky families and friends.
We too would soon be loaded up with our harvest, our offering for the fruit hungry mortals of the holy city, awaiting their weekly supply of salvation, the spring of their delight.
We were back in Jerusalem at 11:09 and spent an hour with Noga in the park. Noga and her father were sliding down a double sized slide made of a rubber sheet held on to the yellow iron poles with strings.
Noga swings on her own, pushing herself with her feet stretched out.
I fetched a pomelo from the car but Noga said she’d prefer an orange so back to the car I went to fetch an orange.
We dropped off Irena’s and Shaul’s fruit and went home
4.Soft back Turtles.
We inserted our destination into Waze, Turtle Bridge in Kfar Vitkin, a moshav on the banks of the Alexander Stream. After riding for about half an hour, past sumptuous modern residences, nestled among lush green bushes and trees, we arrived.
The dark yellow slimy creatures gather around the bridge, mistakenly thinking that visitors are going to feed them their favorite food, chicken carcasses and other meat.
I remember, and I suppose the turtles also remember, how, many years ago, we dangled the meat from strings. The turtles displayed amazing prowess, jumping high out of the water, giving us a splendid show.
Some pointed their snouts out of the water, probably remembering the good old days.
Visits now have become elegant affairs. Feeding is prohibited on penalty of ' 750NIS. Now they have to hunt up and down to find some tasty morsels.
A sign assures us that this is ecologically more healthy for the turtles. But I think it's less entertaining for the visitors.
Wooden rails line the river bank, and a beautiful park has been laid out for picnics and recreation.
I climbed to the roof of the wooden observation tower.A wonderful general view, met my eyes, a grassy park, with picnic tables scattered throughout.
In the not far distance I saw the mountains of Samaria. I reminded myself that I was standing at the narrowest part of Israel; only 17 KM separated us from the Palestinian town of Tulkarem.
Thousands of Pelicans migrating from the cold of Eastern Europe to the warmth of Southern Africa, flock each year, to a reservoir in the Sharon Valley.
We were on our way to view the magnificent sight, from the lookout, set up in honor of Tova and Larry Vikar of Winnipeg.
A pelican flew over the car as we approached, first one then another and then a whole flock of them.
The big white birds, their massive wings flapping powerfully up and down, were landing on the water.
Yellow beaks, like arrows pointing forwards on long outstretched necks. They arrived, singly and in family groups.
They bobbed up and down on the rippling water. One dunked his head to catch a fish, another skimmed over the surface.
They were resting, in preparation for the next leg of their journey.
They still had about another 8000 km, or so, to fly before they reached a land where it was Summer and warm, where they could stay and mate, and have babies.
Research has shown that each family knows the exact tree, where their ancestors had rested in previous years.
This knowledge is passed from father to son every year.
We took pictures and had a picnic. We used a big flat rock, under a shady tree, as a table. I took our faithful red thermos flask of twinings tea, our sandwiches of cheddar cheese for me, and Feta for Ettie.
We made our way back to the car, on the bank of the Alexander stream. We had crossed this stream on our way to the lookout. It is narrow at this point, somewhat polluted, but flowed swiftly.