The Long & Winding Road

I’m sure you’ve had one of those weeks: busy, stressful, and full of bad news. What’s new, right? It’s times like these that I especially need an escape hatch. Yesterday, the badly needed weeklong rains had cleared and the day was crisp and cool, the air clean and fresh. It started out with a list of errands I had to run, but then I saw them!!!!

The Galilee is filled with olive groves. They are EVERYWHERE!!! In the valleys; up mountain slopes; in parks; on the sides of the highways. They stretch for endless miles as far as the eye can see. Some are centuries old, ancient twisted trunks that stand almost human-like as sentient beings, wizened and twisted from their long lives. They are survivors. Then, there are groves of newly planted baby trees, not yet old enough to be fruitful, not remembering past wars fought in their fields or missiles from the past conflicts.

On this particular excursion, the sun was shining on the still-wet leaves. A prism of rainbow diamonds sparkling by the roadside. Add to that the newly green grass growing from the recent rain, and I just had to pull over. I had to walk through the olive groves, breathing deeply the fresh, clean, mountain air…. and taking lots of photos.

In a bit of a better mood, I stopped by a little store at the side of the road and they had freshly pressed olive oils to sample. Just made the week before (I said fresh!). So many different varieties from strong and acidic to rich, sweet and buttery. I’ve never tasted anything so amazingly wonderful, so I bought a large (gallon?) tin as a splurge… the price was amazingly reasonable too, so….

I decided to take another route home… I had some free time, and it was a road I had never before traveled. A road not taken… a road of adventure! No other cars in sight!!! It was definitely not a main, heavily used route… just a simple single lane that beckoned to me from my right…

The mountains were glorious! I turned up the music of Idan Raichel and rolled down the windows to smell the sages, rosemaries, mint, and wild mountain thyme and oreganos. Stopping the car several times to get out and view those beautiful rolling mountains dotted with villages; to take in the sheer gorgeousness of it all…. and to see if I could spot our house off in the distance (note to self: ALWAYS bring the binoculars!!).

Spectacular! Cloud shadows racing along the rolling hills. The Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) way off in the distance to the East. I passed Bedouin shepherds tending their flocks of goats. Cows grazing in pastureland. Beautiful birds I’d never seen. This was what my spirit needed badly!

More olive orchards! More ribbon of single lane country road flossing back and forth between mountains. And then, there it was! Stretched out before me, the azure blue Mediterranean! Yes. That’s it off in the distance! Can you see it? Isn’t it beautiful????

It was just what I needed to clear my head and remind me of the blessing it is to live here. To stop by the side of the road (yet again!!!) sit on a rock and say a prayer of thanks and praise…. and for G-d’s protection upon us and this land.

I did finally make it to my destinations, but with more of a spring in my step – an attitude adjustment. I promised myself to take more time to take more time… and savor the moments. I promised myself to take a small picnic basket, my husband… and the binos…. the next available free day.

Here is another shot I took from the mountain ridge looking down on our lovely city:

Sometimes the road is long and winding. Sometimes we take unknown paths. There are times we unexpectedly have to stop (sheep herder crossing the road) for obstacles in the path. Other times there are detours. But it’s all part of the trip. Our challenge is to get out and make the most of those sudden bursts of beauty. To let the Creator into our souls so that our spirits are transfigured for the next leg of journey.

I’m glad you were able to “come with me” for this one! Hopefully we can hit the road again soon. Until then-