The power of writing is exhilarating. When I write I feel this power in my veins like a stream of hidden lava bursting at times. In life though I can be like a kitten, searching for warmth and affection.
It is only for a moment that the sun catches the trees in the forest just right, and they turn into gold. Gold tree trunks as far as the eye can see, covered with gold leaves, all the way from the ground up, and then the moment is gone, and it is just an ordinary forest with the rising sun hitting it like it does every morning.
It is only for a moment, a fleeting moment, that the same sun rises above the Edom mountain range on the Jordanian border facing the dining room windows in my house on the edge of the desert, blush the otherwise bare landscape with blazing shades of red, as if caught on fire, and then it is back to the dull browns.
Above the jagged mountains that pierce the sapphire sky, and down into the azure warm water of the Red sea, licking the shore, the rising sun lights up a kaleidoscope of fish and corals, in the unending depth.
I can vision the sun lighting the craggy valley beneath my bedroom window, in our apartment building in Jerusalem. The valley of the ghosts (Emek Refaim) that for as-long-as-I can remember hosted the train going into the city, the same valley that once divided my town, with an unseen, yet impassable border.
And the kettle shrieks, and the water bubbles, and my white cat string a cord of silk around my feet, and I land.
It is only my kitchen, facing a line of trees in the back yard, bounded by a tall stack of wood waiting for winter, next to the stone wall.
And I smile to myself, what a magical journey.
Grateful acknowledgment is made to the following publications, where versions of these poems have appeared
Mothers Always Write – When We Will Train for War No More (was Tsuk Eitan).
Reflections Magazine – a Love Poem to My City.
Reflections Magazines – If I Will Forget Thee
About the author
Ariela Zucker started to write poetry seven years ago, poetry quickly became her favorite writing genre.
“Up to a foot of snow,” the smug-looking
weatherman announces on the six o’clock news.
“Thirty million Americans in the path of the
storm,” numbers are always a convincing tool in scare tactics.
“More than six states,” he continues to
plant the seeds of doom.
“Stay in if you do not have to be anywhere,”
The small crooked smile at the corner of his mouth
reveals how pleased he is with the drama he creates.
Behind him, the weather map alive with serpent looking
swirls of green and blue and the dreaded pink.
In the middle of the night, two orange lights
penetrate the shades of my bedroom, and a low growl and grind on the driveway.
Ready to jump out of bed, I realize it is the snowplow performing the first of
many rounds and slide deeper under my blankets.
In the morning, the quiet is deafening. It is the kind
of quiet that accompanies snow days. No cars on the street, no kids on their
way to school, even the dogs hush. Outside, a world clad in crisp white. My
entrance door decorated with snow flowers. I savor the uninterrupted white
before I send my lab out to mark it.
Shovel the deck so the snow crystals will remain
outside, is my part in the snow removal operation. My husband wakes up the
snowblower, and the brittle quiet explodes. The machine sucks in the snow and
spits it out like a water fountain. Before long, our cars reappear from under
their thick blanket of snow, and a narrow trail connects us to the main road.
On the morning news,
somewhat disappointed anchorwoman discloses that only 9 inches of snow
came down. She brightens considerably when she shows us pictures of cars that
sled off the road (everyone is OK).
By noon the temperature rises to 32 degrees. Big drops
of water from the roof and the trees create an illusion of rain. The cleaned
cars and narrow trail freeze to form a shiny layer of ice. This thin, hard
layer will remain unbroken until covered with a fresh coat of snow. In the
meantime, it is sprayed with sand to avoid sliding.
Brown, muddy-looking snow with untouched patches of
slippery ice that snaps and pops when stepped upon. Icy cold drops of water,
some find their way inside my coat as I haul inside logs of wood for the
woodstove. Snow shovels and ice picks everywhere.
“Tomorrow night, a monster snowstorm on its way
to the East coast, 50 million Americans in harm’s way,” here he is again
with the smug look and the smirk.
It is Yom Kippur
today, but when I wake up in the morning, the world is going about its regular
activities. The hum of the cars on the street as noisy as every other morning,
the phone is ringing, people come into our motel lobby for breakfast. It is
difficult to remember that this is a special day. For one minute, I close my
eyes and try to reconstruct that old feeling I remember so well from my
childhood, the sense of touching the sound of silence.
Yom Kippur, when I was
a kid growing up in Jerusalem, was always about the quiet. No one drove, and
the streets were empty. No music, or TV or phone calls to shatter the silence.
It always seemed as if the whole country was holding its breath, and in this
quiet, one could hear its own breathing, its deepest thoughts.
I remember the sharp split
on both sides of the day. One minute the world was full of noise, then precisely
on the declared hour, the noise ceased, and the stillness reigned. The same was
the quick change the minute the day was over.
A solemn and weighty
day as if in this complete silence, without any noise, one became more visible.
As if words had to be chosen with care, and movements carefully match the
importance of the day.
The heaviness of
the day had a whimsical face to it that as kids, we waited all year for it. Since
no one was allowed to drive on Yom Kippur, there were no cars on the road. We
could walk in the middle of the street and knew we were safe. The adults spent
the day in the synagogue, going over all their bad deeds and asking for
forgiveness, while we were free to cruise the streets with our friends. That
strange mixture between the sternness of observing the religious rules, versus
the freedom that the day gave us children never seemed to create confusion. One
thing did not overstep the other.
Until the Yom Kippur
of 1973 when all the lines were ruptured.
The morning of October
6th, 1973 was when for the first time in my life, I opened the radio on
Yom-Kippur. The silence was interrupted by the announcer on the radio reading
in a metallic voice, lists of passwords. All army units that were called in.
Two hours later, I was on a bus going north, and at dusk, I saw the first tanks
of my armored unit grinding the road with their chains on their way to the