the pond at the rose garden

Last week, one of my blog friends, menhir, commented on the pond, a picture of which appeared among the drawings of my father. She mentioned that she and her husband had visited Jerusalem in the recent past, and had sat right near that same pond. And my friend Bill mentioned that he and his wife had visited with me at the same place, when they came to Jerusalem a couple of years ago. So I was thinking that it would be nice if I did a few more posts on the different neighborhoods of Jerusalem, and show you more of the city. And the best place to start, of course, is this very same pond.

a rivulet of water on its way to the pond

For many years now, I travel almost all the time with a little camera in one of my pockets, or in my backpack, and I often photograph interesting or well loved sites that I see. Sometimes, again and again. After my father died, I used to take regular walks with my mother, and when she would see me photographing a local tree, or the pond, or the play area of the local grade school, she would say, “you’ve already taken that picture, Shimon”; not quite understanding why I’d want to take more than one picture of the same thing. And since photography was also my profession, I would catalogue the photos that I recorded. Over 150,000 photographs are described in my catalogue of photographs.


So you would think that it would be a very easy thing for me to find all of the photographs from the rose garden, or all of the photographs of the pond in that same garden. I started cataloguing my photography on little index cards, long before I converted the catalogue to digital. But in the early days, I had a very good memory of almost every photograph I had taken, and certainly those that I had taken for myself. And so, the catalogue focused on the photography that was connected to work. I had to remember who the picture was for, and what the needs of the customer were. And the personal photography was not so carefully listed in the catalogue. Now, searching for a particular photograph, even if I remember it very well, is no easy task. This morning, in fact, it was a bit frustrating.


But when I started looking through the contact prints, or browsing through my photography folders on the computer, it became even more difficult. Having so many photographs, is something of a burden. On the one hand, I am constantly reminded of different subjects which might be interesting for my readers, were I to post a series on this theme or that. But it is also very easy to become diverted, and eventually lost in the great collection. I get inspired to add bits of information to my catalogue. But it also seems that try as I may, I’ll never get it completely up to date.

there are people above the wall, for size reference

The pond has gone through many changes over the years. One of my favorite trees, a willow, died some years back and was replaced by some other kind of tree. The plant life too has gone through some changes. There have been some drought years, when the water itself lost its luster. And periods of time in which the fish seemed to multiply, and others in which the frogs were more noticeable, and were loudly heard. There were also times when the local children became a little too brave, and would venture into the water, disturbing the living creatures… and so the police set up a fence to keep the children out. The fence in turn disturbed the closeness we felt with the body of water. Fortunately, it was eventually removed… and then replaced by a symbolic three wired fence, to mark a border, past which, the visitor was requested not to venture.


The rose garden itself, is situated opposite the Knesset, our parliament building, which is the seat of government. One can see the Knesset very well from the park, and many visit this park, from local citizens looking for peace and quiet, to foreign tourists, and students. During the warmer periods of the year, you can see people having a picnic on the lawns. I have seen young couples walking through the park in their wedding attire, with a photographer documenting their visit for posterity. I plan to do a separate post, focusing on the park, with the beautiful lawns and flowers. But today, I wanted to share with you a few views of the pond.



59 responses to “the pond at the rose garden

  1. I love the stone around the garden!

  2. What a neat place. Reminds me of Hawthorne’s book “The House of Seven Gables” where he compared the old house to the lapse of mortal life.

    Very interesting post about a very neat place. So sad that the three wire fence had to be put up. Gorgeous images! Rocks are some of my favorite subjects which your city has plenty of and they give off such a unique light quality.

    • Yes, Bojo, those stones are a reoccurring theme in our city. I guess I’ve gotten sort of used to them. I remember reading Hawthorne many years ago. Thank you for your comment.

  3. Lovely post and photos. I love finding special spots like this, especially when they’re in cities. Somehow that juxtaposition of the natural and cityscape is very appealing.

    • I think we have a great need for greenery, and places for contemplation and quiet in the city. The intensity of city life can wear on you. Thanks, Jordan.

  4. Thank you, Shimon: A lovely tour and meditation on why we photograph the “same” scene, over and over…because, of course, we and the scene are “new” each time…I also have tried to label and organize my photographs… perhaps it’s one of those tasks that is ongoing. I get lost in memories every time I begin, but I manage to group a few more into a folder (hard copy or digital) every time and try to use it as a meditation, too…gratitude for old times and places and relationships.

    The pond is beautiful. Your photos and description made me think of all the people who have circled it seeking answers and searching for peace. It seems such energy eventually makes a place holy and this can be felt when you visit…thank you, again.

    • I agree with you, Kitty, about those places we go to, to think, or contemplate, or to meet with special people… places that welcome many people each in his own way, to find peace. I feel that way about a certain table, where I’ve had many moving discussions with friends… and certain tools that I’ve worked with over the years. I have a sense of sorrow about this modern trend of ‘use and throw away’ objects. It’s as if we were throwing away pieces of us… thanks for your comment.

  5. despite stone, water, trees today and yesterday, people today and yesterday, life pushes on.

  6. What a nice place to visit, Shimon…to have a picnic with family, or to sit alone. I also enjoy taking photos of the same spot at different times…there are different moods to capture with the varied lighting, etc, as you know…and each one is also proof to myself that I was there…cementing another memory that I might need at another time. Thank you for the tour of a favored place. I will look forward to seeing the other sights of your Jerusalem.

    • People don’t usually have picnics near the pond, Scott. I find that visitors are usually quiet and introspective here. But the pond is part of a much larger park called the Wohl Rose Garden, where there are wide lawns, and beautiful patches of roses. In the warm weather you can see people gathered together on the lawns, sometimes having a picnic. I will post pictures of the park one of these days. And yes, you’re right. Sometimes we have very different experiences in the same place. Thanks for the comment.

      • So maybe there’s something about the location that evokes that quietness of spirit and introspection? Would be a nice place to visit, then…I find those such locations to be very necessary in my life…. And you’re welcome, Shimon….

  7. The pond is beautiful, I especially enjoyed the pic of the fish and the last one. I really love the colour and texture of the stone wall, looking at it I have the urge to touch it.
    It’s sad that there has to be any barrier between people and the pond but at least it protects the animals in the pond.

    I’m glad you are going to post on the gardens, I was hoping to see the roses.

    Arghhhhh….filing pictures,….I too have to sort mine but like you get lost and exasperated by the process…..xxxxx

    • I’m glad you got a taste of the pond, Dina… and it doesn’t surprise me that you enjoyed seeing the fishes. Unfortunately, I have no shots of the frogs. They are shy of visitors. I find filing pictures is very important. The frustration of knowing you have a certain picture ‘somewhere’ and not being able to find it is worse than the trouble taken in filing… part of the hard work of photography, it seems. Thanks.

  8. Thank you for sharing your photos of the pond Shimon. I have not been taking pictures terribly long and despite, I thought, being very careful with labelling and cataloguing, I’ll think of a photo and then have difficulty finding it. It’ll be the one that I didn’t label so carefully. I keep saying to myself ‘I must sort this out, organise a proper system of cataloguing and keep to it’ but there are always more pictures to be taken and processed so the task gets pushed aside but then the task gets larger with each postponement.
    I can only imagine what it must be like to have the volume of photographs you have after years in the profession of photography.
    I think I too might find myself easily distracted going through them and choosing which to use. What a wonderful collection that must be though.
    Thank you again for sharing these views Shimon and I look forward to seeing more of Jerusalem in your future posts.

    • Yes, you describe the process very well, Chillbrook. It is always hard to know what will be important to us after a while. I’ve had photos that were made ‘by the way’ and later on were remembered with a very special fondness. And as you say, there is always the pressure of new photography, and the desire to bring out the best of what you’ve just shot. Glad you enjoy some of these pictures. Thanks for the comment.

  9. How beautiful place… and photographs. Jerusalem is an amazing city and I want to visit one day. Thank you dear Shimon. This cataloguing and labelling actually so boring for me and I can’t make… but it should be done…. because it is not easy to find them sometimes… Thank you dear Shimon, have a nice weekend, love, nia

    • I do hope that you’ll have an opportunity to visit our city one day, Nia… and I sincerely hope that you’ll allow me to be your guide for a while. I agree with you that cataloging is boring. It’s the tedious part of photography. But as you say, it has a lot of advantages. Thank you so much for your good wishes. May this be a very beautiful week for you.

  10. Am I right that the fish are carps? Carps are just adorable and they possibly are the most favourite by the Chinese people. Many idioms about aspiration are linked with carps, such as 鲤鱼lǐ yú (carp) 跳龙门——九死一生(Carp jumps over the dragen gate ——escaping from death)

    鲤鱼跳龙门——碰碰运气 trying its fortune
    鲤鱼跳龙门——身价百倍 enhancing its social status and fame
    鲤鱼跳龙门——大翻身 making a major turn-over
    鲤鱼跳龙门——想高升hoping to make great progress

    There’re many carps in the UK too.

    • Thank you very much for this information, Janet. Yes, the carp is a favorite of the Jewish people, and we have a number of ways to prepare it. But when I was traveling abroad, I found that it was looked upon as a second grade fish… and there were places where they didn’t even sell it. I love it served cold with a special fish jell around it. How nice to hear that there are other people who respect this fish. Thank you very much for your comment.

  11. Water is endlessly fascinating, I find, and I am enjoying your very different views. I particularly like the last one, with the contrast of the golden stone and the greenery, reflected in the water. And I know just what you mean, going through one’s personal records of this or that, and getting sidetracked!

    • So true, Gill; so relaxing for the spirit. I love visiting the sea especially, but since Jerusalem is landlocked, and I’m not always ready for the trip, it is very nice to have a few spots of water nearby, and I treasure the time spent at those different places. Even when it’s dark and cloudy, as it is today, for instance, I find great solace sitting by the water. Thanks for your comment.

  12. Thank you for sharing this. What a lovely, peaceful place to be able to go to, think and reflect. We used to have a koi pond. I loved them in their beauty and their trust.

    • And thank you for your comment, Ann. I’m so glad you enjoyed a virtual visit to this place I love. There used to be a very pleasant koi pool on the grounds of the old folks place, where my mother stayed for a few years. I loved watching those beautiful fish… and noticed that some people would come off the street, just o stand by the pool for a while and watch them. Very special.

  13. I love looking at the same place at different times of the day and different seasons, so why not take many photos of the same? This is what Monet did, again and again. My mother would have asked the same question…

    • Actually, it seems to me that people take a lot more pictures these days, since the start of digital photography. When I got started there was more thought given to each frame. But ultimately, I believe we have to satisfy ourselves, more than anything else. Of course, when it comes to aesthetics, everyone sees things a bit differently. Thanks for the comment, Rachel.

  14. I am struck with the story of the fence round the pond and the wires now in place to mark a boundary and was sad that there needs to be fences in lots of places for similar reasons. It used to be possible to just wander freely around and among the stones at Stonehenge and you could touch them and so on but now they are fenced off and you can’t have that close interaction with them…. ah well.
    Love the picture with the fish in a bundle just under the surface of the water – they look so pretty, like brushstrokes in a painting or caligraphic marks or something.
    Hope you are well! x

    • Yes, it is always a shame to see a wire or a veil come between us and the nature that inspires us… but I’ve heard that the English say that fences make good neighbors. Maybe at times there’s a need to draw a line in the sand. Thanks, Arose.

  15. Your mother’s repeated comment that “you’ve already taken that picture” is similar to my wife’s. She’s used to my inevitable reply: Yes, but not on this light, on this day, in this mood, from this angle, etc. At the same time, I’m aware of how easy it is to follow my natural inclinations and to repeat myself, so I’m always hopeful for inspiration to render a familiar subject in a different way.

    • I agree with you on all counts, Steve. And often, even if the light, and the sort of day, and the plants or the fish look the same… the mood is very important too. Inspiration is a very unique and personal experience. But I have to say, that I am always impressed by a visit to your site. You have some real masterpieces among your work. Thanks for coming by.

  16. Jerusalem is a place that I have always longed to see and so really appreciate when you share more of your city Shimon. This looks like a very beautiful and peaceful park.

  17. I am surprised to see not just a pond but big rocks and trees so near the center of the city.I like all the photos except the one with a fence.
    I like ponds and rivers and like stepping stones very much… [childlike!]
    I can imagine sitting here either alone or with a friend and just gazing into the water then across at the trees.They say even looking at a green square on paper is good for the health,so how uch better to have real grass,trees and water there.Was it a natural pond which was preserved?
    I know you’re on a hill so there will be streams going down… and it looks rocky too.A smaller city is better.. we are in such a big city I can’t really get to the middle any more

    • I haven’t really been convinced about the benefits of looking at a green square on a piece of paper… but I agree that there is something both inspiring and relaxing about contemplating trees, grass, and water. When I was young, this city was really much smaller. But with the passage of time, it has grown bigger and more intense. The parks seem all the more precious to us these days. Thank you very much for your comment, Mary.

  18. Great shots. It’s such a shame that areas have to be fenced off from us (even symbolically). I’m really looking forward to the rest of your tour, Shimon.

    • And thank you, Richard. I wish there were no need for fences of any sort… even the symbolic. But enjoy what we have, and trust those in charge, that they are doing their best to serve the public. Thanks for the comment.

  19. a pond, water = is a kind of richness – so many locations, which have not enough water …

  20. Thank you for the photo tour. I look forward to more.

  21. I admire you for keeping track of so many photos…..and to have started it all on index cards!

    • I don’t know if I would have worked so hard on that, were it not for the fact that it was my profession as well. And you’re right, it was a lot harder in the days of index cards. Always good to see you, winsomebella

  22. your garden remembers me to one I’ve seen recently in the back of the European parliament in Brussels. The garden is public now…

  23. “…you’ve already taken that picture.” But it isn’t really the same picture, is it? Last year there was no fence, this year there’s a fence, next year no fence again. The willow dies, a new tree grows. Beautiful, Shimon.

    • Yes, so true… not only do the physical details change, and the lighting, but even a change of mood affects the recording of a place or an event. I used to take my students to photograph in nature, and often quite a few would shoot the exact same subject, and each picture looked different. I used to do the same thing with students who painted and drew, of course, but the photography students were most impressed by the results. Thank you for your comment, bronxboy

  24. There’s something deeply fascinating with water and the life that goes on in and around it. And as you say over your repeated visits you will have been able to see the small subtle changes – never mind what the light is like or the seasons. I don’t think your mother would understand me either – repeated photos of the sea, the promenade or mountains and trees, it’s my memory bank. But as to cataloguing them – I shudder at the thought!!

    • Actually, my mother was a very wise woman, and I learned from her all my life. Many times, I tried to introduce her to things she knew nothing about. Sometimes with more success, and sometimes with less. What I learned from this, was that it takes a long time for a person to learn something that he is completely unfamiliar with. She was very direct and outspoken, and never pretended to understand something that she didn’t understand, and so I could learn a lot from her reactions. I remember playing her a record of Indian Ragas. She was perplexed. Is that music?, she asked. And then she told me that the sound reminded her of a bee’s humming. I never tried to teach her photography, and I suppose she thought of the camera as some sort of a copying machine. Thanks for the comment, Clair.

  25. What a beautiful pond! An interesting concept for a blog also to explore those small areas that we visit every day. Know what you mean by having so many photographs that you sometimes forget why they were taken. The main difference is mine are quite amateur. Enjoyed the visit to the pond!

    • Thank you Gypsy Bev. Glad you enjoyed a visit at the pond. I was just there again during this last holiday we have been celebrating. And there were lots and lots of people, at the pond, and at the park that surrounds it. It seems to me that it doesn’t matter so much, if what we enjoy in life has a stamp of approval on it… like a national park, or some place or people who are famous. When we get to know a friend, we listen with interest and joy or sorrow, as we share their experiences. In my blog, I share my thoughts and experiences… and pictures too…

  26. Isn’t that always the way with us artists! It seems we have a million images (in photo, drawing, word)–yet can never quite lay hands on exactly the one that says precisely what we want to say at this singular moment for this most specific purpose. I suppose that’s what continues to drive and inspire us. Whether our mothers quite understand it or not!

    • Yes, I quite agree Kathryn. Sometimes, when we’re working, we are so involved in the work itself, and the excitement of dealing with a certain problem, or translating a touch of the sublime to paper or screen, that we don’t have the presence of mind to take care of the paperwork. But I suppose that as long as we have a basket of works, we can always find something to trade for dinner. Thanks for the comment.

  27. Hi Shimon! I’m back from a week in Fla where it was brutally cold. Love your pond and your writing. I would be one to want to dip his feet in it. Everybody should have a pond in their lifetime. And I can certainly identify with you large collection of images and forgetting and unable to find one etc. Almost every one of my images has a story to it and I suspect you would be the same. Like you, I’ll never be done working on mine.

    • Yes, like yourself, most of my images have a story connected to them. And I enjoy a good story very much. That is one of the first things I am attracted to in art. We do have ponds that are meant for swimming and bathing too. I suppose that that is one of the disadvantages of a well organized society… that everything has its place, and its rules Thanks for your comment, Bob. You see, I am trying to get back to the blog, and it is always a pleasure to meet with you, even on paper.

  28. What a lovely place the Rose Garden is, Shimon! I can almost feel the warmth of the sun reflecting back from the stone.

    • So glad you enjoyed it, Naomi. Every time I visit this place, it seems a bit different. I was there this last week, and there was a real crowd there, because of the holiday… and it had a completely different beauty. I will have to post still another picture.

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