End of Summer

AriCooks

Dolly at Echo Lake in Maine, one of our most favorite places in the world.

The end of summer is rough. The weather makes it feel like anything is possible, but the calendar says there is real-life business to be done, school beginning, meals to plan, rent to pay, and so on. (Although I was less despondent than I’d expected to be when we returned to Jerusalem on Friday, there is still that heaviness in the air that always comes when September is in sight.) The sight and smell of our neighborhood hit me hard after almost a month in the States — the floral, smokey fragrance of Nachlaot, the soft, hazy sunset on Friday evening over the still, quiet landscape of Shabbat. Our time removed from this place came with the usual reflections and re-realizations: I love Israel, yet its size makes me terribly claustrophobic but, at the same time, it is the only place I have ever felt safe. Driving up and down the coast of Maine earlier this month, its magnificent wide-openness dotted with farm houses (including our friend, Sharon Kitchen’s new place, which is absolutely perfect), clean lakes and green forests, I felt grateful and relieved to be able to stretch out in that expanse. Yet, for me, the feelings of strangeness and of not-belonging are still present even after years  of living in New England. This feeling of belonging to two places and to none simultaneously is what I was trying to leave behind during those eleven years in Boston. Unfortunately, once an identity has been split, it is not possible to make it whole again. So here I am, looking very much forward to being back in Jerusalem — to the heartbreakingly sacred and lovely quiet of Shabbat settling over the city, to the smell of cookies and breads baking in Machaneh Yehuda, to the intimacy of the community in our tiny neighborhood, to being at my little shop and with the wonderfully creative group of friends we have found here, to a million things about being a Jew in a Jewish land that cannot be translated into words — but never whole in this place anymore than I am over there. Goodbye Summer, you were grand as always!

3 thoughts on “End of Summer

  1. Beautifylly written Ariella! I have that same feeling,belonging to 2 places. I spent a month this summer in Finland and it was very strange to return;especially to the heat!

    1. Thanks for reading, Yael. After all these months of not posting much, it feels like I am sending my thoughts off into the internet abyss. So nice to know they arrive somewhere! I know I am not alone in this feeling of split-identity. Knowing so many other folks who share these feelings makes them much easier to bear.

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