It is Spring. Yes, sing it from the hilltops. It’s twenty-four degrees today, and the trees are in bud and bloom. Yellow wildflowers accompany the winding paths of Jerusalem, and in every nook and cranny, there is verdant green. The very air, still fresh from last week’s rain, smells of the hope of new beginnings.
It is the national elections this week on Tuesday. Who knows what will be? I, taking on the very Israeli habit ask everyone – who they are voting for? Many people don’t know. It’s an uneasy unknowingness.
But it is Spring and I stop to admire a tree at Hebrew University. It has delicate white blossoms and is oh so “Beautiful”, as the foreign student behind me exclaims in Hebrew. She repeats “beautiful” in the different genders, feminine and masculine, trying to capture the exact right word. We both stand still, admiring the beautiful tree, in a unity that is almost spiritual in quality, as there are no words. She goes on to take a photo of the blossoming tree, and I go on to take a photo of her.
We don’t know what summer will bring. We don’t know what this electoral week will bring. Spring is a fleeting moment in Jerusalem. A whiff of fruit blossoms that fall and scatter to the ground, reflecting our lives, which are full of beauty but also the mud that the petals fall in. Elections are muddy.
This morning at my local coffee shop I get into a heated argument with a good friend who sits on the opposite side of the political spectrum. We choose our friendship over ideology. We pick up the blossoms, shaking out our jagged differences. I point out how much it means to me to live as an Olah in Israel and vote at my first national elections. They thank me for highlighting the positives of Israel, as I reported like an overenthusiastic parrot that this country has the lowest level of diet-related deaths – seriously.
Spring makes me feel that in the momentary stopping and breathless naming of what is beautiful, we give thanks for small blessings. Something to cling to in tough and unknown moments.