Friday, 7 June 2013

This is Just the Beginning

Day 1
May 25, Saturday

These were some of the first words our tour guide used, David said, “Life is full of second chances.”  The last three years I have become used to hearing these words, I know them. Second chances, living life again, new…seeing the world, and for me, this is just the beginning.

We have arrived in the Ben Gurion Airport at Tel Aviv on Shabbat, the Sabbath day, the day of rest.  For us though, there will be no rest, we immediately begin our tour and head out to Joppa, the city of Dorcas, the home of Peter the tanner, the place of St Peters Church and the Port where Jonah catches the ship to flee from God.

“So, he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going down to Tarshish,
paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.”
Jonah 1:3

The city is so beautiful and quaint, at every turn there is a dip and a curve; cobblestones and balconies; colored doors and wrought iron gates; patios and rooftops; domes and towers; this, one of the oldest inhabited cities of the world.

We visit the Art District, an application is needed just to live here, explaining what you do,your talent and the tools of your craft.  The city is alive with art in the windows, the grassy areas, the parks and along the walkways; at every turn, sculptures, paintings, jewellery and sketches.  Artists…we walk their streets, peeking in the open windows and doorways, looking up the stairways and down the alley ways. We look down into the newest archeological find, fascinated at the excavation, knowing that as we go on from here there will be more.

The air is filled with a spicy aroma, bitter, sweet, heavy…I can’t say…olive oil? Spices?  The scent is everywhere, I noticed it at the airport, on the streets here and in the shops, the café’s and in the food, yes, heavy, bitter and sweet at the same time.  In one of these café’s, up on the roof top, we eat our first meal, surrounded by the sights and smells of this quaint city.

From this height, as we make our way out, we can see ahead to the amazing Mediterranean Sea, foam capped waves breaking on to the white sandy shore; the shore that is filled with people, holidaying and enjoying the blessings of the Sabbath. The hang gliders are flying, turning and dipping above the shore and just beyond all of this the towering high rises reaching to the sky…all beautiful, amazing.

Driving on to Netanya, a city where our home will be for one night, halfway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, a city along the Mediterranean Sea. The road that brings us here is lined with rolling hills dotted with bushes and rocks chiselled and shaped through years of weather.  Always the Sea on one side, and art still, even here, dotting the median; sculpted rock, hammered metal, painted, bronzed, and some formed from roots of trees…all beautiful, art.

Once we are settled in our Hotel, we walk out to the beach to see for ourselves, to touch the artworks and feel the splashing of the sea, tasting the air around us, taking in the very feel of this new place.  We walk the boardwalk to the sea enjoying the sun, beautiful sun.  Taking off our shoes, stepping onto the sand, we dig our toes in deep, feeling the coolness of the ground underneath.  The sands here are white, each step soft and warm; sparkling, shimmering with the reflection of the sun and the rolling waves of the sea, in and out, in and out.

We make our way to the water’s edge and walk along into the sea - I take in the joy of it, one step further, in…and more and more until deep enough to swim out, ahhh, yes, swimming in the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.

‘And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” 
And it was so.  God called the dry land ‘ground’ and the gathered waters He called ‘seas’. 
And God saw that it was good.”
Genesis 1:10

…and this is just the beginning.

I love that.