Writers are painters with a palette of words. Writers are travelers, traveling across the world and through time on pages of black and white. Writers are thinkers. Writers are dreamers. But most importantly, writers capture the most troublesome, powerful, wonderful, exhilarating, and confusing aspects of life using one of the most troublesome, powerful, wonderful, exhilarating, and confusing things given to us–words–and create something beautiful.
No matter how bleak a situation may appear, an optimist always discovers the positive side of it. On rainy days, for instance, he is not depressed by its gloominess, but his positive outlook on life causes him to think of the bountiful blessings that rain showers bring. Neither is he opposed to challenges or hardships, for he knows the benefits of overcoming them. Even when his plans crumble, an optimist does not lose heart, but trusts that Yahweh must have better plans for him. His cheery view of life makes him happier than most people, uplifts everyone he meets, and causes him to be loved and respected wherever he goes.
I love the energy, warmth, and beauty of spring. As the biting, winter winds blow away and the balmy days of spring begin to reside, the whole world comes alive. Slowly, the dead winter soil resurrects green and lush; bushes protrude their foliage, and daffodils and tulips burst forth their faithful blossoms. Wafting through the fresh air, the sweet scent of roses infuses the senses. Mockingbirds sing from the blossoming branches of trees. Chattering squirrels leap from branch to branch, and buzzing bees dutifully pollinate the rejuvenating world. The dogwood produces its dainty, yellow blossoms, the tulip tree its dark purple tulips, and the cherry its snow white clusters, all heralding the arrival of spring.
My First “Go Class”
My first encounter with a Krav Maga “go class” was staggering. Completely unexpectant of the intensity of the impending session, we all strapped on gloves, stretched, and waited for the class to commence. The class began with running laps around the room. Dad wisely advised me to keep at a moderate pace, in order to save my energy. My legs were beginning to protest and my arms were growing weak from blocking when the instructor eventually shouted, “Now squats.” Squats were followed by more running, bunny hopping, seal crawling, and pushups.Then came one of the hardest parts. I had to run, scan, and punch while my partner, Grant, gave me resistance by tugging on a belt that was wrapped around me. After a while, Grant and I switched places, and I attempted the task of being Grant’s opposition. Halfway through the ordeal, Dad took my place, enabling me to indulge in a water break. I reveled in the few moments of rest, but soon was forced to resume action. The class continued, complete with more running, punching, and kneeing. An attendant was sprawled on the sidelines, shirts were drenched, faces were crimson, and everyone was breathing heavily when the class finally came to a close. With great relief, I lifted my fatigued self off the hardwood floor and swept back the damp hair from my forehead. That was a class none of us would readily forget.
Written February, 2013
The Kotel Overlook
The sun was sloping toward to the west as Dad and I read the psalms at one of our favorite vantage points in Jerusalem, the Kotel overlook. An elderly woman sitting on the bench across from us echoed the peaceful undertone of our surroundings with her pleasant smile at me. Turning my gaze toward the railed overlook, I observed silent onlookers inhaling the beauty before them. Joining the observers at the railing, I too stood captivated by the view before me. There, parallel to me, stood the Kotel with a faithful number of men and women gathered in reverent prayer. No longer was the Kotel only a sacred landmark so often heard about, it was before my own eyes and locked in my heart forever.
The Promise Land
When I think of one of my favorite memories from my trip to Israel, I am swept back in time to the final leg of our lengthy flight from America to Israel . As we soared over the Mediterranean Sea, the flight attendants moved mechanically down the two aisles of the airplane, lifting all the window blinds — a sure sign that we would soon be landing. Situated in the back of the sparsely filled Israeli airplane, I anticipated our approaching arrival to Israel. After three layovers and what seemed like days of flying, a strange mixture of excitement and exhaustion swirled inside me. I was awestruck by the massive cumulus clouds, fluffy and as white as snow, that hid the sea beneath us as we bobbed through them. In my mind I could almost hear my little sister, Sharon, exclaiming over the magnificent clouds. Oh! How I missed my family already! Anxiously, I peered through the hazy window for the first sight of land. All of a sudden, the encumbering clouds parted, revealing my first glimpse of Israel. My eyes locked on the small strip of land, barely visible through the clouds, as it reached up and squeezed my heart. Tears of joy welled in my eyes as I, at long last, beheld the Promise Land.
Sequestered to the loneliest corner of the country ballroom stands the distinguished Mr. Darcy. He is a handsome gentleman of twenty-eight years, with a wealth of black hair and a stately stature. His countenance is as a king; no smile lines his face as he observes the night’s festivities with scrutinizing eyes. He presents a curt nod to others only when it is absolutely inescapable, and swiftly declines any offers to dance. With his affluence and good looks alone, every eligible young lady is at his beck and call, all except for one, Elizabeth Bennet. She is the only young lady that Darcy finds desirable. That acknowledgment, however, causes a shiver to pass through his rigid frame. The thought of being allured by a woman of Elizabeth’s lowly status is most deplorable to his estimation. Spotting her in the crowd he quickly turns away, lifts his chin, and stiffens his back. It would be imprudent of him to display his feelings. He longs to abandon the uncivilized banquet and return to the dignified setting of Netherfield Park.
Trifling chatter is all that consumes his fellow hikers as they trudge down the winding timber path. The artist lingers behind, allowing the others to trample on ahead. When the dust finally settles and the palaver is distant, he closes his eyes and revels in the allurement of autumn. Tilting his head, he catches the warmth of sunrays peeking through the treetops. He can hear the rustle of leaves as squirrels scamper about, harboring nuts for the winter. He inhales deeply the fresh air of the timberland and catches a scent of evergreen. A smile touches his face as a breeze swirls past him. Opening his eyes he finds the branches overhead showering him with an abundant spray of leaves. One leaf captures his eyes, and he grasps it as it flits by him. He runs his fingers along its ridges and marvels at its crimson hue. In that moment all is silent; a current of hope enraptures him. Suddenly he feels confident in achieving any aspiration he seeks, never to be downhearted again. Then a voice rends the silence – was someone calling him? Reluctantly, he tears himself away from his reverie. Casting the leaf onto the trodden path, he wills himself toward the group of hikers he had so easily forgotten.