The parade of seasons

I’m supposed to write about our trip to Akko because I think most people aren’t interested in reading about plants, but oh well, that’s why it’s a blog.

To make it up to my readers, here is a picture of Rafi AND plants: (Dear Readers: please let me know if the picture doesn’t show up. No photos are loading on my computer right now, but this is what developers would call a “known bug,” so maybe you can see it while I can’t.)

Just when we thought wildflower season was over...

Just when we thought wildflower season was over…

To me there is something comforting about being in a place long enough to see the parade of seasons go by. When we got here it was an undifferentiated mass of green, green like you would not believe if you had only ever been to Israel in the summer. But I didn’t know what anything was! Apparently this does not bother many people, but it unnerved me to see all that unfamiliar flora. On my mental list of how Israel looked strange, it ranked right up top along with striped curbs and those ubiquitous window slats.

It reminds me of my first year in Cleveland. I thought there wouldn’t be any surprises–I grew up in Cincinnati, after all–until I noticed that a six-foot-tall phallic-looking flower had appeared in our backyard. Rhubarb bolts dramatically, it turns out.

The past few months have been full of surprises like that. On tiyulim I found entire hillsides just covered with sage. The tropical-looking tree with the glossy leaves in our yard turned out to be shesek (loquat)–edible and delicious. The nondescript tree outside our third bedroom window grew white flowers with a heady scent that made me swoon every time I hung out laundry for a glorious two weeks. About a month ago I found out that the hedges I see all over the place are harduf (oleander), which is poisonous but produces magnificent blooms, and the season has lasted for over a month.

I’m enjoying the parade of seasons just as much when it comes to produce. Israel has much less imported produce than America (but plenty of greenhouses, apparently), so the differences in seasons are much more pronounced. Now summer fruits are coming into season. Cucumber, eggplant, tomato, peach, melon–it’s a festival. Oddly, the bell pepper season seems to have passed. I haven’t figured that one out yet.

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