When I first moved to Israel, as when I first fell in love with my husband, everything was beautiful:
The early morning mountains which framed a glorious sky peppered with misshapen clouds.
The herds of cows that grazed by the side of the road in fields glistening with morning dew.
The herb garden I grew from seedlings and the lemon tree i tended in my front yard.
All instilled me daily with wonder.
But as with any new love, the extraordinary faded into the ordinary, and over the past two and a half years, I have slowly become a woman who no longer feels compelled to sigh as I drive on the beach road from the lower galilee where I live south to Tel Aviv.
I no longer breathe in deep and breathe out the question:
I live here?
I am able to see the waves crash on the shores of the Mediterranean without being overwhelmed with delight.
I am able to see a lone camel walking along the busy express highway without grinning.
Yes, i live here.
And with my acknowledgment comes a price. My vision shifts slightly.
But even in my nonchalance,
Even in my hurry to get home to my kids
To make dinner
To clean the dishes
i still stop for the cotton fields.
There’s something magical about blooming cotton.
I can’t explain it.
Is it the absurdity of seeing — there sprouting from a plant — a material I know only as a sensation against my skin?
Is it the contrast of the billowy white puffs against the dried out greenish gray stalks emerging from the ground?
I don’t know.
But I am always caught surprised by the cotton fields.
As if someone has transported me back
Somewhere else but now.
5 thoughts on “I see beauty”
Sounds amazing–would love to see that too, cotton, I don’t think I have! I still don’t tire of seeing VT, where I live in Spring through Fall. Sometimes taking it in on the macro level…discovering every little detail can help make something feel new or undiscovered. November through March though? UGH…question myself every year for living where I do where it’s so miserable for so long, but then again, maybe that’s what brings such a sense of awe in the other seasons?
SO funny that you wrote about this. Just yesterday, driving on the road between Yishai Junction and Hamovil, there’s cotton fields (on both sides of the roads) and it was hard for me to keep my eyes await from it. All that WHITE. I asked my oldest (11) sitting next to me, if she knew what it was. She didn’t. I told her. She asked, “That’s cotton??? What do they do with it???” Her response amazed me. On the way home, we saw a tractor picking the cotton and gathering them into huge bundles, like they do the wheat during the harvest before Shavuot. All of us were stunned by this. Never saw that before. Still, I must admit, I don’t think a time passes that when I look out to the reservoir in which our kibbutz overlooks, I do sigh and think to myself, “How did I luck out to live here?”.
The way you feel about the cotton fields I feel about the view of one of the city lakes here. I always appreciate it when I drive by whereas I take most other views of anything here for granted.
I grew up in a part of Texas where cotton grew abundantly. One day my uncle, who was driving the car, pulled over to the side of the highway and picked up a piece of cotton that had blown to the side of the road (from the harvesting, no doubt) and gave it to me. It was the softest, most wonderful thing I’d ever held in my hands! I couldn’t believe that this soft, downy fluff turned into the cotton shirts and shorts I wore all summer in the Texas heat.
I’m still stopped dead in my tracks at the sight of a white cotton field.
Thank you for showing me Israel’s!