When I first moved to Israel, as when I first fell in love with my husband, everything was beautiful:
The early morning mountains which framed a glorious sky peppered with misshapen clouds.
The herds of cows that grazed by the side of the road in fields glistening with morning dew.
The herb garden I grew from seedlings and the lemon tree i tended in my front yard.
All instilled me daily with wonder.
But as with any new love, the extraordinary faded into the ordinary, and over the past two and a half years, I have slowly become a woman who no longer feels compelled to sigh as I drive on the beach road from the lower galilee where I live south to Tel Aviv.
I no longer breathe in deep and breathe out the question:
I live here?
I am able to see the waves crash on the shores of the Mediterranean without being overwhelmed with delight.
I am able to see a lone camel walking along the busy express highway without grinning.
Yes, i live here.
And with my acknowledgment comes a price. My vision shifts slightly.
But even in my nonchalance,
Even in my hurry to get home to my kids
To make dinner
To clean the dishes
i still stop for the cotton fields.
There’s something magical about blooming cotton.
I can’t explain it.
Is it the absurdity of seeing — there sprouting from a plant — a material I know only as a sensation against my skin?
Is it the contrast of the billowy white puffs against the dried out greenish gray stalks emerging from the ground?
I don’t know.
But I am always caught surprised by the cotton fields.
As if someone has transported me back
Somewhere else but now.