Sunday, 11 March 2012

walking in Gilo

The sun is warm on our backs. Goats bleat mildy in the wadi. We are high on the hilltop, overlooking Bethlehem. Far in the distance the tall towers and highrises of Jerusalem are white and gold against the strong blue sky. We walk slowly, looking up to where the branches stretch, their buds fattening in the warmth, and then down at the grassy verges filled with many-coloured wild flowers, vivid blues and shining yellows, and brilliant scarlet poppies. The birds sing, trills to make us pause, or -- in the case of rooks -- caw raucously, away, away... It is very quiet, little traffic, today is the sabbath. We talk of age, and loneliness, and change (half a line remembered from a poem I learnt for the Grade 8 final exam in Speech and Drama, set by London's RAM, taken fifty years ago) and hear our footsteps on the old stones, or crunch crunch across the gravel paths. We find wild fennel, and rosemary, and rub the leaves between our fingers to pull out the strong scent. I think, land of milk and honey. I think, place that I can call home. At ten minutes before the hour, the muezzin sings. I want to make a film of this, of all the plants, the dusty roads, the small goats, the clear air up here, the stillness, even the golden walls. And no words.

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