The Longest Winter Ever

There was this flower I watched each day when we first arrived in Israel.

Stingy little thing, tight fisted bud, closed, she held out until relenting into pink. First just a little blush, until she couldn’t take it anymore, and opened up completely.

She was the only thing that seemed to change.

I watched her every day, on my way back from the store with the same kind of milk and bread and cheese in the same kind of plastic bag, up the same path, to my door after the same conversation with the same woman I always met along the way: “You look tired.” “How are the kids?” “Why aren’t you wearing a warmer jacket! It’s Winter!!!”

Strange, this sameness since  I was new here: The country was different, the language, too.

I blame the tears, the tears that soften and wash away the differences, that blur the lines and the colors and make us see what we choose.

The same 7:10 wakeup, bleary eyed, dress the kids, same cries, “I want THAT shirt, I want a cookie, no, no, no, you can’t make me put on my shoes!” the same walk down the same steps in the same stroller to the same kindergarten, the same the same the same.

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The same ache in my throat each day, the same way the words would catch behind my teeth, the same disorientation when I would wake up ten timezones away from my family back home, the same limbo, the same heartache.

And how cold it was, in the belly of the winter beast –a winter kicked off by a swirling red dust storm that choked the sun, that brought the rains, that sent us running from radiator to radiator while the chill slashed through sweaters and scarves straight to the skin.

Nothing would change.  It would stay cold forever. I would be lost forever.  Nothing would change.  Except for her, this flower, from green to pink, a glorious three day peak when unfolded, you could breathe her in three inches away. Sweet. Even in the rain.

Beauty is but a blooming... Photo by Rahel Jaskow
Beauty is but a blooming…
Photo by Rahel Jaskow

But “beauty is but a blooming, youth in its glory entombing,” and so she faded day by day, the petals fell, until she turned to amber, then to brown, then turned to nothing there at all.

And so I mourned.

And still the same walk, on my way back from the store, with the same items in the same kind of bag, and the same woman I would meet along the way… But wait, a change, how had I missed it? Her belly flat had grown into the shape of the moon.

“You look tired.” “How are the kids?” But why are you dressed so warmly? It’s already Spring again!”