We went out yesterday to enjoy the early spring weather. Though we had a rather fierce snow storm at the beginning of winter, there has been far less rain than usual. And in the last couple of days, it’s been warming up. The birds, the wild animals, the reptiles and the ground hogs all have the impression that spring has arrived. Even snakes have been reported, coming out of winter hibernation, and eager to find food and sustenance. It is only we humans, with calendars and statistics going back hundreds of years, who find it hard to accept that spring is here. We worry. We could have another cold front, or another winter storm before the season comes to a close.
Chana and I went out to enjoy the wild flowers yesterday. We went to visit the anemones, look at the daisies in the field, and admire the blooming almond tree. There were still some bunny ears in the air… those fantastic cyclamen flowers that grow wild in our area. We saw some wild orchids, and some domesticated horses, carrying young ladies across grass covered fields in the hills surrounding Jerusalem. It was a sun drenched day, and as the day progressed, the air warmed up. Like the water that freezes in the cold, I too become rigid and hard in the cold weather. But give me a warm day, and I become expansive, taking pleasure in the rejuvenation of plants and animals.
Ah, but there were dire warnings on the radio. This early spring would just mislead the wildlife. There would be a new generation now… but there wouldn’t be food for the young in a few weeks… My father, a learned scholar who pushed me to study… he was my teacher, and a hard taskmaster, used to say, ‘ignorance is bliss’. A strange mantra for a scholar… and one that stayed with me through the years. The Tao of knowledge; awareness is life, ignorance is bliss. From the time of Adam and Eve, human beings have wanted to know… to know what they were made of, to know their environment… to know how long we have on this planet… to know the secrets of life… to know what the weather will bring tomorrow… And still, the ignorance of the ground hogs, and of the birds scurrying around to build a nest in the middle of winter… that ignorance is bliss.
Standing in the forest, I looked down and saw acorns under my feet, and then noticed the rapid evacuation of wild chickens that had been enjoying the plentiful plant life which had sprouted in every direction. The forest was emanating life. Here and there were arbutus trees, those lovely evergreen trees with their wide dark green leaves and the red bark on their trunks. They were the jewels of the forest yesterday, and around them was that buzz of life… that mad enthusiasm of living things in the throes of a sunbath. Of course, we human beings worry about what lies ahead. But the rest of nature exulted in the warmth and the pastoral beauty that had appeared to grace us ahead of time.
I’ve been visiting my new home lately, to spend time with my cat, Nechama. She’s been very disturbed by what she’s been through for the last few months, and has some serious reservations about me. She doesn’t know if I’m trustworthy anymore. But little by little, she’s adjusting to the new house and the new environment. She has the feeling that the worst is over… and soon we will be back together for the long haul once again.
And the new house is beginning to look like a home. There’s reason for optimism. We will have a living room surrounded by large windows from which we will be able to gaze out at the new neighborhood… and the freeway that will take me home from downtown. And out the backdoor, there is a footpath all the way to a local park… just the place for a gray cat to climb trees and admire the birds. All of this is just about to happen. Rest assured that you will receive my reports.
And meantime, as I fantasize the pleasures of my new home without yet knowing the disadvantages… ah… there are so many reasons to celebrate… my new library, a beautiful balcony surrounded by nature… my place in the city I love… ah yes, ignorance is bliss.