Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Last Shabatt we went to the desert. Deep down and through the giant Makhtesh Ramon we drove, and we found delightful flowers on our way. The rain was overall very scarce this year, and the desert stayed harsh and dry and blooms much less than in years of plenty of downpour, so the treasures we found were even more appreciated.
Desert Tulip (צבעוני המדבר)
Two flowered tulip (צבעוני ססגוני)
But this time we came to the desert with a special purpose. It was to find the very rare wild rhubarb. Rheum palaestinum, (ריבס המדבר). It grows only in the hills of the Negev Desert and near Eilat, and blooms in March and April. An uneven, winding and rocky road leads to Arod, the location near a wadi where a small population of the rhubarb can be found. It is easy to travel there with a jeep, which we don't have - but somehow we managed to get there with our normal car. (Over hill and over dale we hit the dusty trail.) :-)
I remember rhubarb cake from childhood. With meringue on it. And delicious rhubarb compote for dessert. And I can relive the joy just enjoying the stalks, together with my sister, dipping them in sugar and crunching on them down to the last bit, happy with the sweet and sour taste. For more than thirty years, since living here in Israel I did not see cultivated rhubarb, neither growing in gardens, nor to buy at the markets. A friend from Norway sent me some seeds. I tried twice to grow them, but with no success. The seeds germinated but then the little plants wilted away.
After we arrived at the rhubarbs we could see all their stages of growth. From the closed bud, which looked somehow like a big egg, and then the split open "shell", till the full blossom of the flower.
The leaves are of a strong dark green hue, and huge and wrinkled, their edges bend downwards to the ground. Such big leaves are very unusual in the hot desert. Normally the plant leaves there are small to minimize perspiration. In the case of the rhubarb, the large leaves bent to the ground serve as a clever irrigation system. They collect the rain and dew drops in their many crevices, and tunnel them to the roots.
The high stalks covered with hundreds of little flowers of a fierce red/orange color and similar to tiny bells before they open, break through the earth in the middle of three leaves. This remarkable extraordinary and very impressive plant stands out from the monochrome landscape in a very pretty way. It is endemic to the Negev Desert and the Sinai.
The Bedouin tribes use parts of the plants as medicine. The Hebrew name of the rhubarb "ribas" originates from the Persian language. In German it is called "Rhabarber" and here is something funny to amuse my German friends.
All photographs taken by my husband Uri Eshkar.
Please zoom in.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
A Man In His Life - Yehuda Amichai
A man doesn't have time in his life
to have time for everything.
He doesn't have seasons enough to have
a season for every purpose. Ecclesiastes
was wrong about that.
A man needs to love and to hate at the same moment,
to laugh and cry with the same eyes,
with the same hands to throw stones and gather them,
to make love in war and war in love.
And to hate and forgive and remember and forget,
to arrange and confuse, to eat and to digest
takes years and years to do.
A man doesn't have time.
When he loses he seeks, when he finds
he forgets, when he forgets he loves,when he loves,
he begins to forget.
And his soul is seasoned, his soul
is very professional.
Only his body remains forever
an amateur. It tries and it misses,
gets muddled, doesn't learn a thing,
drunk and blind in its pleasures
and its pains.
He will die as figs die in autumn,
shriveled and full of himself and sweet,
the leaves growing dry on the ground,
the bare branches pointing to the place
where there's time for everything.
אדם בחייו / יהודה עמיחי
ואין לו עת שתהיה לו עת
לכל חפץ. קהלת לא צדק כשאמר כך.
אדם צריך לשנוא ולאהוב בבת אחת,
באותן עיניים לבכות ובאותן עיניים לצחוק
באותן ידיים לזרוק אבנים
ובאותן ידיים לאסוף אותן,
לעשות אהבה במלחמה ומלחמה באהבה.
ולשנוא ולסלוח ולזכור ולשכוח
ולסדר ולבלבל ולאכול ולעכל
את מה שהיסטוריה ארוכה
עושה בשנים רבות מאוד.
אדם בחייו אין לו זמן.
כשהוא מאבד הוא מחפש
כשהוא מוצא הוא שוכח,
כשהוא שוכח הוא אוהב
וכשהוא אוהב הוא מתחיל לשכוח.
ונפשו מקצועית מאוד
רק גופו נשאר חובב
תמיד. מנסה וטועה
לא לומד ומתבלבל
שיכור ועיוור בתענוגותיו ובמכאוביו.
מות תאנים ימות בסתיו
מצומק ומלא עצמו ומתוק,
העלים מתיבשים על האדמה,
והענפים הערומים כבר מצביעים
אל המקום שבו זמן לכל.
מצומק ומלא עצמו ומתוק,
העלים מתיבשים על האדמה,
והענפים הערומים כבר מצביעים
אל המקום שבו זמן לכל.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
to admire the almond trees...
The almond tree is called "Shaked" in Hebrew all year round and it is very modest and unnoticeable, but in spring when it blooms so gloriously, and is not to be overlooked it is called "Shkedia"!
Photos by Uri Eshkar.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Two o.clock in the morning and my brain goes off on its own. Do you too experience your built-in computer playing havoc on you in this half sleep-half awake state of mind in the small hours before dawn? When it acts completely unorganized, presenting you with an array of mostly unwanted "windows", flashing bits and pieces of reality and fantasy on you and presenting you with all kinds of, mainly unrealistic, worries and anxieties dragged out of the depth of your unconsciousness, not obeying any rules and getting completely out of order?
Don't you just hate losing control in the dark? Well I do! So, my resolution is not to let this go further, but to take over. I switch on the light, tiptoe to the kitchen to make a cup of tea or coffee, and snuggle back into bed with a book. Usually after an hour or so sleep finds me again. If not I give in, get up and start the day before the first twittering of the birds.
Like now, yes I'll get up and paint a bit... :-)
Monday, January 27, 2014
This Shabatt we drove to the plateau of the Golan to visit, once more, the daffodils. To the left of the entrance of a small village is a swamp area, called Achu Nov. This marshy piece of land is famous for being the home of the marvelous and very protected swamp iris (iris ha bizot - איריס הביצות), which will bloom in a little while, we saw many of the sword like leaves already peeking out. I will dedicate a post to them soon, when they are at the height of their bloom.
Right now the daffodils reign there, narcissus tazetta, (narcis mazui - נרקיס מצוי). These beautiful princesses broke the earth open about two weeks ago in the millions. Yes, that is right, in the millions. It is almost unbelievable how many there are. To call on them is such a fulfilling endeavor. Bending down, looking at their grace very closely, feeling the soft petals and smelling their intoxicating scent is so rewarding and even a bit magic, you know, like being in wonderland. And then rising up and standing still, and eying daffodils till the horizon - now that is quite an experience!
Most of the time the circle walk of about one and a half kilometer is muddy and has to be strolled carefully. Where the water sits in ditches basalt stones from the region are laid out as bridges to make the passing easier. This winter rain was scarce till now, and as you can see the path was dry and the hiking was not difficult.
At the entrance of the round-about there are only single groups of daffodils at the sides, till suddenly a meadow opens up and the abundance of the wild flowers blooming in profusion is absolutely stunning.
Our Dafi got her nose into them and had to lick their scent and pollen off her snout!
That was a beautiful day - much to be thankful for!
Photographs by my husband, Uri Eshkar.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
When I painted this humorous picture I had nothing special in my mind, I just painted it and enjoyed the process and the colors.
It was only after it, when during one of our outings, I saw THIS placed in an old deserted cemetery, that I started to think about the image I drew and colored.
Some research on the Internet led to a lot of interesting discoveries, matters I had never thought about before. It turns out that a rams head stands for many things. The similarity of the female reproduction system - the anatomy of the uterus and the fallopian tubes - to the outline of a rams head is quite obvious, but using this originally pagan symbol in occult satanism is a very negative way to belittle and ridicule women's sacred cycle.
In many ancient civilizations the sheep played an enormous and important role in the daily life of the people, delivering milk, meat and wool. Sheep gods have been worshiped in their cultures, and rams heads were often used in their rituals. Khnum, was the Egyptian god of rebirth, depicted with the head of a ram. In many societies from far back in time till today the rams head stands for power and energy, for leadership and fearlessness. Antlers and horns are associated with male power. The god Ammon, the Greek rendering of Amun, is often shown with horns of a ram.
My head is spinning with all this new information I learned, and there is so much more which is spiritual in a bad sense, mysterious, sinister and eerie, that I do not want to touch upon. I find my own painted rams head, so not physically correct at all, the nicest and friendliest, and I am not curious to know the meaning of that genuine rams head stuck on a pole in this old ruined and forgotten (or not forgotten?) cemetery. As a matter of fact I do not want to go there again, too creepy. :-)
Sunday, January 5, 2014
"...friendship between a man and a woman is something much more precious and rare than love: love is actually quite gross and even clumsy compared to friendship. Friendship includes a measure of sensitivity, attentiveness, generosity, and a finely-tuned sense of moderation."
Amos Oz (A Tale of Love and Darkness - great read, very much recommended)
Is that true? Sounds good, doesn't it?