I’m writing to you from the womb of a rainbow-striped hammock strung between ancient olive trees, their trunks knobby and gnarled like an old man’s hands, their branches like upturned palms, overflowing with shards of green.
A breeze ruffles the slender green-silver leaves, with their clusters of olives in twos and threes; here and there olives scatter to the floor.
We’re about as close to the Lebanese border as it gets, on the edges of a little ecological village that’s cut off from the state’s pipelines, running on solar-powered energy, its houses set out sparsely against the rocky hillside.
I had to suspend my
paranoia fears about war to come here; when I voiced them aloud to my friend, she stated, half-jokingly, that we’re so close, missiles would pass right above our heads.
I’m resting in this hammock and thinking about nature and borders and land and isolation and community, in the calm, quiet embrace of this olive grove, traditionally a symbol of peace.
In the background, beyond the soft swaying of the branches, I can hear the noise of the festival. At this distance, the music is soothing and low, the sound of hundreds of people humming along reaching me as a soft murmur. The wind rocks my hammock gently. Read more…
I step out of the quiet, air-conditioned apartment where I have spent the morning reading, and onto the balcony with its view of the ocean. I sit down on a chair with a curved back, its white wires tinged with an orange rust the color of the late afternoon sun. I stretch out my legs on the chair opposite me, and I feel the sun warming my legs and my arms, and I’m suddenly aware that I was a little cold.
The ocean beyond is quiet and soothing and calm where it meets the horizon, its blue the same pale hue as the sky, except that it shimmers and sparkles brilliantly. It breaks into large, wild, frothy waves as it meets the shore. I spot a multitude of tiny black dots, among the waves, chaotically spotting the water’s edge; people are out there, playing. The beach is covered in red and white parasols propped open like heads flung back in laughter.
I’ve been reading When Women Were Birds, by Terry Tempest Williams, and it’s the kind of book that makes my entire body quiet. Makes all of me gather together, pause, in awe; like I’m standing in the holiest of temples.
She writes: “Creativity is another form of open space, whose very nature is to disturb, disrupt, and “bring us to tenderness”.”
That’s what her prose does to me: it brings me to tenderness. Read more…
A little roundup of links to start off the week. Have a great one, friends. xoxo
Terms of Endearment
Ashley talks about raising a girl.
Like helpless cameras
This quote, amidst those photos.
A gorgeous, gorgeous video.
Cherry Almond Galette
How stunning are these raw tacos?!
I can’t wait to try Sarah’s Flavour Bombe Greens n’ Noodles.
Alice Medrich’s Crazy-Good No-Temper Chocolate-Dipped Cherries.
Chocolate Bombe Shell (2 ingredients + 5 minutes= Danger, pictured above).
When I left the little house on the tree-lined street, I didn’t say goodbye. I had room left in my suitcases; I didn’t take all of my things. Although a part of me knew that it might be goodbye, I couldn’t face it until I found myself in the embrace of my family and friends. I could barely envision a month without him, let alone a lifetime.
I had struggled with depression since the onset of my teenage years, a black cloud coming out of nowhere, knocking me to my knees. The blackness enshrouded everything, I couldn’t see beyond it, it bore down on me like a ton of bricks, making every movement difficult. He would lift me out of bed, hold my hand, lead me to the shower, turn the water on, wait for it to be just right. When he would close the door, I would fall to the floor, my head between my knees, the running water pounding down into me, masking my sobs.
It wasn’t all the time, yes? It happened once, maybe twice, a year. Like someone pushed me brusquely over the edge, and there I was tumbling down into this black abyss, falling, falling, falling, with nothing to hold on to. Read more…
Eight years into our relationship, I met him at the door with the same yearning to dig my fingers deep into his flesh, to get beneath his skin, that overtook me when I first set eyes on him. We had New York at our feet, big and glamorous and dirty and sophisticated and raw. Its buildings towering, crowds pulsing through its streets pumped with adrenaline. West and across the George Washington bridge and we were in a land of mountains and lakes and incredible panoramic views of the city; east and we found ourselves on the edge of the Atlantic, the sand bluffs soft and tinged with patches of wild grasses, the ocean stretching out limitlessly into the horizon. Read more…
A year ago today he drove me to the airport. He got out of the car, opened the trunk, leaned in, pulled out a large red suitcase and then another, placing them on one of those airport trolleys, the suitcases weightless in his arms. I leaned against the trolley, watching him, and he stepped towards me, pulling me in by the waist, enveloping me in his arms. And I was engulfed in his scent, and the faint stubble on his cheeks, and those thick, muscular arms of his that made me weak in the knees. And as I lost myself in his kiss, I grasped for him, for his love, for him to fight for me, to fight for us.
And as I walked away, steadying myself against the trolley handles, I was terrified and lost and undecided and so lonely and so deeply sad, and I missed him so much already, and it felt like someone had plunged their hands deep into my chest and tore out my heart.
And it all twisted into each other: my excitement to see my family and friends, and the birth of my newest nephew, and my paralyzing fear of flying that had me postponing my flight until I could do so no longer, and this kiss from this man, my husband, whom I loved, and whom I had loved with all of my heart, with all of my being, for the past eight years; and the fact that I partly knew, but could not yet fully acknowledge, that I was not going back. Read more…
My grandmother now lives in a geriatric facility that specializes in Alzheimer’s. When I visit her, she’s parked in a sea of wheelchairs in a large common dining hall, with low ceilings and a large, cloudy fish-tank, and it reminds me of when I used to visit old age homes with my elementary school and sing to them from that odd, classic repertoire that appeals to both the very young and the very old. I pause as I enter, wondering if she’ll still recognize me. So far, she does. She wears a belt tying her to her wheelchair, because otherwise she’ll get up– and fall. The other day, she ripped up her belt, and when my mother arrived a few hours later, she told her frantically that it wasn’t her, but the rabbi in the long white coat. I arrive that evening, and I ask her how her day was, and she tells me they accused her of tearing up her belt, but no, it wasn’t her, not at all.
I sit beside her as she eats her dinner, and I fight back my anger at how she treats my mother; at how she treated her since she was a little girl; at how she’s treating her now, when all her defenses are down, and the speech flows uncensored. I watch her, struggling with her knife and fork, and I soften myself, speak to her gently, hold her hand. I see her, defenseless, in a country where she doesn’t speak the language, in a foreign environment; in this total loss of control; in this complete, absolute dependence. And I grasp for a love that’s big and generous and greater than me- greater than a tallying of accounts, that can contain my anger and resentment and the deep, century-old betrayal that quivers and quakes beneath my lineage. Read more…