Mornings are hard. Back in my single life, I used to struggle to force myself out of bed. You would think that marriage would somehow make Sergey and me into the sort of mature, efficient people who just spring out of bed at the first ring of the alarm. Not so. If anything, it made us even lazier, as we enabled each other to snooze later and later. Finally, frustrated with my lethargy and lack of punctuality in the mornings, I told Sergey to start physically pushing me out of bed–and after much resistance (“How can I push a woman?”), he complied. Now we are more on time, but the struggle remains.
I say all that as a preface, because the struggle of the morning contrasts so intensely with the often splendid seascapes outside our windows shortly after dawn. This week, I saw one of the most beautiful–a sunrise rainbow! As rain sprinkled the Mediterranean, the rainbow shone forth. After stumbling into the kitchen to make our coffee, my groggy eyes caught sight of it, and I ran into the bedroom to tell Sergey to look.
Sometimes natural beauty is hard to appreciate. For example, I find the beauty of Israel challenging–it can be hard to find anything wild in the paved, packed city, where the hot dust settles on everything. The Bahá’í gardens are, of course, spectacular, but I crave something less manicured, something moist and verdant–basically, the leafy luster of the northern states of the US. The tender evanescence of springtime, the green opulence of summertime, the jewel tones of autumn, even the silent blankness of winter (although I don’t miss that season as much!).
Spending some time on the land of the B&B where Sergey and I honeymooned reminded me that this terrain, this flora and fauna are planted in my heart. In Michael Ondaatje’s novel The English Patient, the title character enjoys the solitary barrenness of the desert; on the contrary, his lover Katharine yearns for the moisture and verdure of rainy English gardens where hedgehogs roam. I sympathize with Katharine, though I have seen hedgehogs in Israel.
But sometimes, it is patently easy to see the beauty of nature, when it stretches itself out right in front of you.