Just off of road 65, outside the town of Afula, is a beautiful reserve of wildflowers beside the Megido Airport. In Hebrew the flowers are called kalaniot, the English word is anemone. I am not a specialist on flowers and have never heard of anemone before yesterday but that didn’t keep me from enjoying the beauty of these flowers found in northern Israel during the winter months of the year.
In general winter is my least favorite time of the year. I enjoy the season through Christmas and the new year but find the months from January to March something to tolerate rather than enjoy. I moved to Israel from northern, VA, just outside of D.C. where the winters there are cold, gray, and more often than not, muddy rather than snowy.
Winter in Israel is vastly different. It is the most green and lush time of year. As my husband, Yuval, and I drove to the North yesterday, I was astonished that the countryside was so alive. The fields were almost fluorescent as the sun shone down on them. Our target was the Galilee, but as we drove through Afula Yuval asked if I would like to stop and see some flowers. I’m ashamed to say that at first I just wanted to keep driving but the little saying “you should stop to smell the roses” came to mind and I quickly took his offer.
I was so thankful that I did. We drove down a gravel road into a wooded area with cars parked in every imaginable spot, as is usual in Israel. We managed to get a parking place for our car and found our way to a place where the wooded area gave way to an open field carpeted with delicate flowers of multiple colors. The area was packed with local tourists.
I was happy that so many people were out enjoying God’s creations. I also laughed a little as I thought to myself, this is so typical Israeli. Israelis love to be “out” and “doing” but once they get to their destination they don’t seem to want to spread out and explore. I am sure many of these Israelis drove quite far to see the flowers but only few of them ventured down the other wooded paths surrounding the open field of flowers. Americans feel intensely uncomfortable being “too close” to one another whereas Israelis seem to thrive on the community aspect of life. I don’t think they have ever met a stranger, especially not while in their own land of Israel. I am learning to appreciate both ways of life.
Yuval and I decided to go farther into the woods. As we drifted further away from the crowd it was almost magical. The sun rays danced through the branches of the trees and we were met by a gentle, fregrant breeze. The anemone or kalaniot decorated the entire wooded area with a quiet beauty and I felt for a moment like I was in J.R.R. Tolkein’s “Shire” – The little green village of hobbits in Middle Earth.
The experience has inspired me to come home to Ra’anana and manage my patch of earth on my balcony a bit better. Yuval and I continued on to our destination, but looking back I think that stop was the highlight of my day as we took the time to revel in God’s artwork. Yesterday was an object lessons. It is true that we should live life as if the journey is the destination.
If you are planning a trip to Israel, you may want to consider winter months – especially if you are a nature lover. The weather can be a little unpredictable with some cool temperatures and possible rain, but if that doesn’t bother you, you will see an entirely different Israel than that of the summer months. And if you are from a cold climate, it could be a perfect break from the snow and ice.
If you do come in the winter, be sure to stop and experience the anemone!
Kasey enjoys life in the Holy Land, and is a contributor to Travelujah-Holy Land tours, the leading Christian social network focused on connecting Christians to Israel.
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