early summer


For a few days now, I’ve been making the acquaintance of a rock badger. In a park near my home, as I take my morning walk. I don’t know what they eat, really, so I haven’t tried to buy his friendship with food. I suppose they eat the fruit or the leaves of the local greenery. In any case, these animals are known for their shyness. They will run immediately, when coming into contact with humans or large animals, and so it was unexpected to find one in a public park. I’ve come across them in the forest, and not so long ago I photographed one in the forest, that approached me as I was sitting quietly on a boulder. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in a park before. The first time I saw him, I immediately sat down, and he watched me for a while, before going away.


But then it happened again and again in the same place, and I realized that he liked the place. Maybe, had even taken up residence there. There are some high bushes in the vicinity, and this gives him a place to hide if need be. Each time, he came closer to me. And on the third meeting, he came very close. But unfortunately, when I raised my camera to take his picture, he ran for cover. But as soon as he got to a relatively protected place, under a fence, with high bushes behind him, he sat down and started looking at me again. And that is when I took this picture.

the rock badger

Usually, I enjoy walking through my own neighborhood, and other neighborhoods of Jerusalem. I like looking at the homes, the little additions people make to their houses, and the little gardens around them. Changes occur very slowly. The biggest changes are brought by the seasons. Even so, I enjoy walking in the familiar territory. Very often, I get carried away by my own thoughts, and pay less attention to the cityscape. It happens, that I don’t take a single picture on my walk, because it is all so familiar. But still, I carry a camera with me each time. From experience, I know, that if I were to take my walk without the camera, I’d be sure to see something that I’d want to photograph… and then I’d regret not having taken it with me.

a crow about to lift off from a trash bin

But on these days of early summer, it is a special pleasure to take a walk in the park. Aside from my neighbors who walk their dogs, or study, or read for enjoyment… there is also a lot of animal activity. And it seems that the living creatures feel quite secure in this environment. There are a lot of crows. They are the predominant birds there, sitting high on trees, on fences, lamp posts, and the backs of benches… and sometimes searching… for what, I do not know, in the mowed grass. And then there are a wide variety of smaller birds, the most attractive of which, are the sparrows, that I follow with interest.


From time to time, I see waves of birds, in groups, according to species, rising gently into the air, moving to high places as a human being with leashed dog walks by. And then, after the interruption… slowly they all return to continue what they were doing. From time to time, a big truck goes down the street next to the park… and all the little creatures react… some by freezing, and others by running further into the park, and then the noise passes, and we continue enjoying the beautiful summer day; peace on earth, and good will towards all.


32 responses to “early summer

  1. A lovely gentle start to my day Shimon, reading about your walk in the park and the animals that inhabit it. Seeing your lovely photographs and envying the sunshine. I hadn’t heard of rock badgers and your crows look different to ours but then I know the crow family is very large. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you very much Chillbrook. Yes, the rock badgers are very common in our country, but very shy too. Here’s a picture where you can see a bit more of him.
      For many years, we used to think they were rabbits, because rabbits are much rarer here… but as the world grew smaller, we began to understand the difference. Rabbits of course, are much cuter.

  2. I enjoyed reading about your walk, Shimon. I’m glad you got your picture of the Rock Badger. I like the image of the crow, too. They are really such fascinating birds. I usually take the same walk, too, everyday, through familiar territories. I often think I’ll take different routes (and sometimes I do), but I always find new things to photograph–everyday–on my usual path. I like to challenge myself to see things in a new way, to look from different angles, to see what I might have missed before or what I might discover today that I hadn’t ever noticed in the past. And, of course, as you mention, things are always changing, too, and it’s nice to have an awareness of that, as well.

    Enjoy your beautiful summer day, Shimon. You’ve brought some peace to mine this morning. Thank you.

    • I’m so glad you liked the post, Lemony. It is true, the more alert we are to our environment, the more we can learn even from the familiar. Thank you for your comment.

  3. Some people see more in a walk around a park than others see travelling around the world. Thank you so much for this quiet tribute to the small, familiar loveliness all around us. I’m happy you managed to get a shot of the rock badger. I will remember you as I go for my walk in the woods today. With sunny greetings from Helsinki, Sharon

    • Thank you very much, Sharon. As you probably know, there are many stories of people who looked in far places for enlightenment, and then found it right next to themselves. When I was young I traveled a lot. Now I’m more than happy to stay close to home. My best wishes to you.

  4. And how many of us walk focusing on our own trails and tribulations, and not notice the treats the surroundings offer. Sure there are times when we walk as a way to address a problem, but the details are wonderful. I relate this to food – while some eat to savor the taste, others eat to satisfy their stomach. Thanks for the walk in the park and enjoy your day!

    • I’m very glad you enjoyed the walk, Frank. And I agree with you about noticing the surroundings. I think when we’re infants, we’re most aware of ourselves. But as we grow older, we become ever more aware of the environment, and other people… and learn to be sensitive, and to empathize. Best wishes to you.

  5. Thank you for this post, Shimon. I feel like I have been on the walk with you, except I didn’t get any physical exercise. Your gentle kindness and keen awareness combined with your lovely photos inspire me.

    • How nice to have you with me on my walk. And I’m sure you do your share of walking too… for the exercise. Best wishes, Ruth, for a beautiful day.

  6. What a lovely park and beautiful way to enter the day. How wonderful that your walk is also blessed with so many “fellow-travelers,” Shimon. I so enjoyed your photos and reflection. Peace to your days.

    • Yes, it is a special pleasure to meet the many living creatures in the park, and I’m sure you would enjoy it just as much, Catherine. For I know we enjoy many of the same things. Thanks for your good wishes, and peace to you too.

  7. I feel as though I have just gone for a quiet walk in Jerusalem. Thanks for taking us along, Shimon.

    • I’m so glad to share with you, bits of Jerusalem. I am grateful that I have had this opportunity to live my life in our ancestral home. Thanks.

  8. I love to stroll along with you as your words take me along your route. It is the same with me, I also feel that if I do not have a camera with me that I will miss a wonderful opportunity. The badger in the park could be one that someone took out of the wild hoping to make a pet of it. Maybe it escaped or they could not tame it and it might have fled to the park. The first photo reminds me of a tree lined area which used to be outside our local library. I went to my old home town over Christmas and that beautiful spot has now been changed and spoilt.

    • Actually, GB, though the badger is very common in our country, I’ve never heard of anyone taming one. They live in the wild life mostly, but my neighborhood is at the edge of town… and the conditions are a bit harsh after you cross the city line. I think the park was very attractive to him. I think it happens a lot, that going back to the scenes of childhood can be very disappointing. I remember reading of such experiences. Best wishes to you.

  9. What a beautiful morning walk and share with us dear Shimon, as if I was there too. Wonderful photographs too. Summer seems so nice… Thank you dear Shimon, I always enjoy your writing… Have a nice and enjoyable weekend, love, nia

    • Thank you very much, Nia. You are always so sweet. It is wonderful to be able to enjoy the summer again, and the days are very precious. Thank you for your comment. You always make me happy.

  10. a wonderful walk in the park Shimon, and how pleasurable to take your time and notice the small details. I’ve never heard of or seen this type of badger before, so a thoroughlly enjoyable new experience for me.

    • I’m very glad you enjoyed it, Claire. These small animals are very common here in Israel, and I have included a better picture in my reply to the first comment. It is a lot of fun to watch them in groups… but you have to be very quiet, because they scare easily.

  11. Just like you mention Shimon, I take my camera on many of my walks through my neighbourhood. It’s such a pleasure seeing your surrounds! Though the familiar may seem ordinary to you, I encourage you to take photos of it as you never know when something will change, and you’ll have a record of the ‘past’. I’d also like to see more of where you live!

    • I have written in the past, about my immediate environment, Marina. But I will be sure to do so again. It is a great pleasure for me to share these places, though change happens very slowly around here. I have been living in the same home for 40 years now, and not much has changed aside from the cars parked out front… and maybe the technology inside. Thank you for your comment.

  12. A soothiing post Shimon; I like how you gained the trust of the Rock Badger…almost 🙂 I live in a small neighborhood and take the same paths on my daily walks, but always manage to see something I haven’t before, or changes that have been made. And then there are always the birds that come and go.

    • Yes, Angeline… you and I are very lucky to enjoy the neighborhoods where we live. For me, it is always a pleasure to take a walk, whether I find something new, or don’t. Though often, I do find new sights… Thank you for your comment.

  13. Thanks for the nice walk, Shimon … wish I could be there. Be well, my friend. Love, cat.

  14. I see that I am late to the walk. It is late afternoon here. I too felt the quiet beauty of your walk. And, the excitement of meeting Mr. Badger. I like him. His behavior reminds me of Che. Che will run to hide if he is frightened, but he comes right back to his door to watch. I take the same routes all the time, but I am constantly seeing something new or something that I never noticed before. How our vision changes over time. The older I get, the more detail I see. Perhaps that comes from having the luxury to linger. This was a quiet and delightful look at your walks. Thanks.

    • I can imagine that with Che, it’s especially hard… because he lives in a cage… and that usually makes an animal more tense and worried. When I approach a wild animal, I’ll always walk ‘around’ at first… that is, distance myself from him just a little bit, so he knows I’m not trying to trap him or come on too strong. Then I sit down, and let him take the initiative. Quite often, they’re interested. I agree with you that there is so much to learn… even in familiar territory. Glad you liked the post, George.

  15. Cute. In South Africa the rock badger is known as a “dassie” and you get them by rocks at the sea as well. They are the closest living relative to the African elephant which I always found strange considering their considerable difference in size.

    • Thank you very much for your comment, TDV. I thought I knew quite a bit about this badger, but when you mentioned his being a relative of the elephant, I went back to the books. And yes, it’s true! And it was very surprising to me. They are, in fact, very intelligent animals.

  16. I used to see all kinds of creatures out along the edge of Jerusalem, and in the wadis that I think have been built up since I left 25 years ago. I looked the little fellow up … here’s a link, if you are interested:


    I love your writing. I dream often of Jerusalem and you remind me how I loved her. Thank you,

    • You can still see wild animals at the edge of town… but you’re right, Marilyn, the city has grown quite a bit in the last 25 years. And it’s a bit crowded at times. Still, I love it so much. Thank you very much for your kind words. I did quite a bit of reading on the שפן, recently. But I will check out the link you suggest as well.

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