My Walk through the Jerusalem Forest
A few weeks ago, I was looking over my goals for this year which I wrote up before Rosh Hashana (my elul plan, for all those lucky Rabbi Nivin-ites out there) and realized that I had conveniently and completely forgotten about my plan to “go on a brisk walk every day for at least 15 minutes.” So, for the last little while I have been going on a brisk walk every day.
Some days I walk down the hill to the Jerusalem Forest, less than five minutes from our new home. And today, feeling adventurous, I decided to walk all the way to Har Nof along the forest road.
As I headed down the hill, by the horse ranch, I was flooded by the beauty of it all– the bright-green grass carpeting the entire valley, and the tips of the tall trees swaying every so slightly in the breeze, and the sound of birds chirping their different songs.
One of the houses next to mine is owned by a woman in her 80s. She decided to moved to another apartment she owns in the Tel Aviv area so that she wouldn’t have to climb stairs anymore. When her granddaughter (who lives in the house now) asked her what she most misses about Jerusalem, she answered with a wistful look, “The birds, I miss the birds!”
Looking at that heart-lifting view this morning, that’s how grateful I felt! So grateful to be HERE, in this place, seeing and hearing what I was seeing and hearing as my feet walked along.
And then I noticed THEM. And felt quite clueless that even though I had already been walking for a good ten minutes, I hadn’t noticed THEM before.
The huge electrical towers and electrical lines right there, an ugly eyesore in the middle of all that beauty. Mucking it up. Destroying it. Just, well, awful!
For about a minute, I couldn’t take my eyes off them. But then, consciously, firmly, I decided to draw my focus elsewhere…
To this red flower.
And that delicate, teensy pink flower.
And these lavender cyclamen.
And this pine tree, the branches drooping and heavy with pine cones.
And I prayed that every day of my life, as a mother, as a wife, as a Jew, as a human being, I will be able to choose what electrical towers to pass by, pulling my heart consciously and firmly towards the beauty that surrounds me and all of us.