leisure living


I’ve heard it said that life these days is more intense and hectic than it once was. People are constantly running from one thing to another, trying to get more things done in a day than they can possibly do. I’m not sure, though, if it’s just these days. I’ve seen the same behavior all my life, and there were periods when I lived that way myself. I remember hearing a song back in the sixties. It was called ‘modern day fish’ and you can listen to it on youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TL-T0I5nLPU . I tend to agree with the message. And if so, it’s not the contemporary life style. It’s us.


When I was in my middle age, I had a business that kept me busy from morning to night. But I still made time for teaching. And then I had a number of side projects that I had to fit in, one way or another… not to speak of family… plus friends and associates. I was busy all the time. But I remember that there was one situation that was always rewarding. When standing in the shower, with the water cascading over me, I would come up with some of my best ideas, with solutions to problems that had been frustrating me. And the next best thing to that, was taking a walk. And I don’t mean walking to somewhere I had to be. Just walking for the pleasure, to enjoy the day or night, would provide the freedom to let thoughts float by… without purpose or intention.


And that is the condition when we are most able to digest what we’ve learned… the new things we’ve experienced… or think of the many ways by which we might solve a problem. It’s good to work hard, both physically and mentally. It’s good to run or jog or work out, pushing ourselves to extremes. But there has to be a balance. And the quiet time is when we do our internal filing and put our lives in order.


It’s getting to be summer time these days. Nice and warm. With a taste of spring still in the air; wild flowers, and new sprouts to be seen. It’s really a pleasure to take a long walk in the morning. And since moving to my new home, there are a great many places to explore; gardens and parks and hidden corners where I can sit in the shade and contemplate the good life.


But it’s not only the new neighborhood, that’s been providing inspiration lately. The other day, Chana remembered that we had passed a sign a couple of times, pointing to Joel Springs. She suggested that we visit the place. The road we found seemed to be the sort that only a jeep could traverse, but there was also a foot path going there. We decided to walk, though we didn’t know how far away it might be, and we didn’t have a water bottle with us. After a good bit of walking under the hot sun, we decided to go back without having seen the spring. I have a feeling that we’ll still get to see it one of these days. But the path was beautiful, and we enjoyed the walk. On our way back, of course, we saw certain sights we’d missed while going in the opposite direction. It’s all a matter of perspective.


And one of the things I especially like about taking a trip in the country, is coming across the wild flowers. As the season progresses, they show up in their own particular order. There are those that come in the beginning of spring, and by mid spring, only a few are left, and there are new and colorful flowers to replace them. I love the cistus flower especially, which covered the hills a month ago. And these days I stand in awe, looking at the different versions of Queen Anne’s Lace.


On our way back by car, we stopped at a country restaurant and ordered a vegetarian Indian curry for lunch. I hadn’t eaten curry for years and years, and was a little disappointed because it wasn’t at all like what I remembered. And it was served lukewarm. But we also ordered some local beer made in Jerusalem, and it is wonderful. Looking at the bottle, I saw our famous lion drinking beer. It reminded me of some of the comments on my last post. I thought I’d post it for your enjoyment.



55 responses to “leisure living

  1. It’s a wonderfull warm day here and I could cheerfully down that beer! But I shall share it in spirit.
    Your wild flowers are beautiful, you can’t beat seeing them in natural unspoilt places, what are those lovely pink flowers?I hope you finish that walk one day, you’ll have to take a picnic next time.
    Funny, but I always have my best ideas when in the bath or walking, it frees the mind somehow.
    A lovely post that goes so well with our lovely weather.xxx

    • Those flowers are called alcea in English. But you know, Dina, often they have different names in different countries, and there are many flowers that are very common here, and barely known in other countries. These flowers appear about this time of the year and last quite a long time, and are seen all over the country. They have a very tall stalk, and are very handsome. I love them. I have many very positive memories attached to them. I do hope you take a bit of time out in your garden and have a cool beer in this fine weather that we’re both enjoying. Isn’t this a wonderful time of the year? xxx

      • I’ve just received a mail with a better translation of the name of the flower. Now that I’ve been reminded, I remember that that is what they are called in England: hollyhock!

        • Ah yes….hollyhocks, we have them too but they are a little different, the leaves on ours come out before the flower, here, it’s an old fashioned cottage garden plant and I love them, I have pink white and almond ones..
          It is a wonderful time of the year, there is so much to see and hear and now the swifts, swallows and house martins have arrived to make it even more perfect. I love to watch them darting through the air and skimming the ground, amazing little birds.xxx

          • There are a few birds I’m seeing here around my new home, that I didn’t have much contact with in the old. Don’t know most of their names in English… there are some whose names I don’t know at all. I’ll have to ask around… but it is a pleasure getting to know them.

  2. Very well written – I guess we human always will believe we ourselves lives in a more intense and hectic world than previous generations – the next generation thinks like us that they live in a more intense and hectic world than previous generations – and so will the “show” go on… 😉

    The world changes so do we human too – I don’t think self-perception is changing – we all generations live in that pocket of time we do and underestimate perhaps other time gaps..? 🙂

    • I agree with you. I think we do underestimate other periods of time. But maybe, because of all the mass communication, and the exposure to other peoples and cultures through the media, we may be getting to know ourselves as human beings better in this age. I would like to think so. Thank you for your smiling comment, ledrakenoir. It is a pleasure hearing from you.

  3. A lovely walk and talk, Shimon, and an especially pleasant diversion from doing some hoovering here in Much Wenlock. Before I came upon you I was sowing beetroot and kale and broccoli seeds, and before that I was hanging out the washing, writing a blog post, having brunch, unblocking the bathroom window, doing Qi Gong while listening to the birds do their spring shouting in a nearby wood, then trying to compose a supper menu for guests tomorrow, and writing a few emails. So yes – time to inwardly digest – it is easy to forget that this is a real need. I don’t need to say which of the above activities I found the most satisfying. And then I happened on your lovely wild flowers, and that was another joy.

    • I’m overwhelmed by your schedule, Tish. Though I’m sure that the best of all was doing Qi Gong while listening to the birds do their spring shouting in a nearby woods. That seems like just the sort of break I was talking about, and a great joy as well. But there is room for a lot of depth too, while planting broccoli seeds. I remember, that sometimes when doing chores like that, I was transported to heavenly realms. And in the very act, there is hope for the future, and a connection with the earth. I feel very honored that you included my words in your beautiful day. Thanks.

      • It’s like the sharing of a nourishing but simple meal. The good spirits in your writing are passed on. It is always a pleasure to read your posts, Shimon. I love the sharing of creative energies that goes in Web Land.

        • Yes, that sharing is the warm side of all the technology that seems to have overwhelmed our life style these days. I do enjoy it. Thank you Tish, for your kind words.

  4. “they show up in their own particular order”…flowers in their seasons, and much like us in our stages of life. It was great walking with you this morning. And I might even enjoy a beer this afternoon in your honor; we’ve got 100 degree temperatures these last couple of days. Happy weekend, Shimon.

    • For most of my life, I loved hot and dry weather more than all else. Then, after I had my heart illness, I found there was a limit to how much heat I could take. I’m rather lucky to be living on a mountain where we usually have moderate temperatures. But still enjoy warmth very much. Thank you so much for enjoying a beer with me, Angeline. I think I’ll have one today in your honor. Thanks for the good wishes, and mine to you.

  5. I, too, enjoyed the beautiful walk with you. Love the Queen Anne’s Lace and Dandelion images. I agree with you on “…not the contemporary life style. It’s us.” I also think people have much higher desires, that can make life more intense.

    • Yes, Amy. That is so true. People do have much higher desires. And a good part of that is the commercialism that we are constantly exposed to. Our desire is provoked all the time… and that’s on the lower level. But on a higher level, democracy has encouraged us to realize our own personal potential, and that leads to a legitimate desire to fully express ourselves and to enjoy our lives more. Thank you very much for the comment.

  6. Your post was timed perfectly to remind me to go take pictures of the roses outside my window. I saw them on my morning walk and then promptly forgot I wanted pictures as I dove into my day. May your day be blessed. Thank you for blessing mine.

    • I’m so glad you took those pictures of the roses… and happy to hear that you have roses growing right outside your window. What a pleasure, and inspiration too. I love roses, and can just look at them for the longest time… So good to share with you, Judy. Thank you for your blessing.

  7. Great post again, Shimon. The simple pleasure of walking is highly underrated. Having a dog is the best way to ensure at least one walk a day (in my case 2, sometimes more). I too love wild flowers. I love their spontaneity and how they grow against all odds sometimes.

    • I’ve never had my own dog, Fatima… But in this last year, I finally learned to appreciate them. And learned to love one particular bitch, with whom I walk occasionally. Yes, that’s an added advantage; that one has to walk them occasionally. And what you say about wild flowers… the way they grow against all odds… that can be such a source of hope and positive feelings. I’ve thought of that many times. Thanks for the comment.

  8. Here in south Texas, we had an unexpected cold front blow through, giving us a welcome respite from the already-summer 100 degree days that seem to stretch out for about five or six months out of the year. We joke that we only have two seasons in Texas – summer, and then just a hint of winter – it seems spring and fall zip by so quickly that we must be quick to notice, or we’ll miss it completely. Especially enjoyed the dandelion and signpost photos, although all of them are lovely.

    • I suppose, in Texas, there is a special pleasure in a cold wave, being that you usually have a warm climate… and the cold provides something of a balance occasionally. Very glad you enjoyed the photos. Even as I write you, I’m looking out at a beautiful day, through an open window… and thinking how nice it is to be enjoying this season. My very best to you, N.

  9. Yes, enjoyable. And not a word about texting or telephoning – which seem to generate much of the overload.

    • Yes, Bumba, that’s my impression too. the texting and the phone, and advertisements on radio and TV… they distract us, and weigh on us. As I’ve grown older, I’ve become more removed from phones just as they were becoming a major focal point in the lives of most of the people around me. And in recent years I’ve more or less stopped watching TV as well. It wasn’t a decision. It just attracted me less and less. Thanks so much for your comment.

  10. I so agree with your comments about balance, Shimon, and the inspiration and spirit-mending that flow, unimpeded, during times of stillness and whatever brings us to a meditative state. (For me, it’s walking and working out.)

    Your sweet part of the earth looks so inviting. I also mark time by noting which wildflowers are blooming, just as I note the succession of birds visiting the feeders, and other animals visiting our gardens. :)… It’s all passing so quickly this spring, after our extended winter, but I’m relishing it thoroughly!

    Thank you for this beautiful post and the reminders to “just be” and to spend time listening, along with accomplishing our “to do” lists. I wish you a blessed Shabbat…

    • Thank you so much, Kitty. I know you’re in touch with time through the seasons, the flowers, and the subtle changes in the landscape. I see it in your photos, which I relish each time… have come to know a bit of your environment too. Yes, these days seem especially beautiful… knowing that the days are getting longer, and the air warmer. I try not to think too much about the ‘to do’ lists, though. ‘Cause it gets frustrating when I never manage to finish what I planned to do in a day. But on a warm clear day, it doesn’t seem to matter so much. Wishing you a beautiful week, and a completely enjoyable day.

  11. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words

    your words have a soothing effect …always very real, very human at it’s wisdom of living…
    Thank you Shimon…walking with you is always a pleasure
    I love the photographs of the flowers……always a smile they give to one who sees them
    Take Care…you Matter…

    • Very good of you to come by, Maryrose. I appreciate your words, and your good wishes. It’s such a pleasure greeting the flowers at this time of the year, and checking out the fruit of the season… Nowadays, you can find a lot of fruit available year round… but I still enjoy eating those that have ripened on the tree. They have that rich taste that can’t be compared. Best wishes to you for health and happiness, and many a smile.

  12. I’m sorry to hear your curry wasn’t up to scratch Shimon as Indian food really is wonderful when cooked correctly. A good beer however is always good compensation for a less than satisfactory lunch. You have some beautiful photographs here Shimon. A walk is, as you say, always such a good time to think, the shower works for me also.
    Thanks for taking us along. I will look forward to pictures of the spring when you finally get there! 🙂

    • Glad you enjoyed the post, and the walk, Chillbrook. I remember Indian food as delicious, but it isn’t so popular here, so I don’t come across it often. Not that I’d complain. I like the Mediterranean fare. But maybe I’ll go out of my way for another Indian dinner. The beer was very good though, and this is the season when I most appreciate it… in the long afternoons on a warm day.

  13. Sounds like a lovely day, Shimon! I try to spend some time in nature whenever I can as you’re right, it opens the senses and creates a space where problems seem to become solutions. I loved your photos – especially the Queen Anne’s Lace. We have those here in Colorado too.

    • Over the years, I’ve taken so many pictures of the Queen Anne’s Lace. I love it so. When I used to go walking with my old mother, I would pull out the camera at a scene like that, and she would say, ‘But Shimon, you’ve already shot that picture’, and I would try to explain to her that the shooting was a pleasure in itself, and not necessarily a catalog of all the wonders in this world… but she found that hard to understand. Of course, you as a photographer yourself, Cathy, know how sometimes taking a picture is our way of relating… Maybe one of these days, I’ll just publish a collection of that beautiful wild flower.

      • Oh, what a wonderful collection that would be, Shimon! I do understand fully. My camera so helps me to relate to my world – those things that delight and capture my attention. And there can never be too many shots of Queen Anne’s Lace!

  14. It all goes back to that old saying “Take time to smell the roses”. My life, too, has always been busy, and while my children were growing up, I didn’t even think of finding time just for me. I should have! Now I do take the time to walk, take a drive by myself, or just sit by the lake – my inspiration spot.

    • I love that old saying, Bev. Unfortunately, though I do buy a bouquet of roses about once a week, they often don’t have much of a smell. But we have a rose garden near here, and then I can bury my nose in a bush, and come up smiling. Sitting by a lake does sound like guaranteed inspiration. My best wishes to you.

  15. I always enjoy your pictures. It;s we who create the modern lifestyle. Funny how the lion is peculiar to so many cultures.The Jerusalem Lion has it’s owncharactor.

    • I’m so glad you liked these shots, Barbara. And I can certainly understand people’s fascination with the lion. It’s been my experience that the larger animals have a more moderate attitude towards life… and often a regal bearing. One can see the difference even between little dogs and the big ones. And I’ve had a life long love affair with the family of cats, but the lion really brings out the most noble aspects of his cat personality. He isn’t rushed or anxious… has a deliberation that can only be admired.

  16. As you say, Shimon, It is all a matter of perspective, and some of us have walked one way already and are, like you, treading the path in reverse: we see it.

    Do you have a new camera? The pictures are excellent.

    • Ah yes, menhir… as you say, it’s a different perspective coming back, and to me it seems all the more precious. These photos were taken with a Canon G12 that I’ve had for about three years. It has a lot of advantages… but what I like best about it is the articulated monitor. Almost every camera I’ve known has had a rather individual personality, and one has to learn what it can do well in order to get the best results. But usually we can get great photos from any camera. I love the things I see photographed with phones nowadays. They’ve really made photography accessible to all.

  17. Lovely. What does it say on the hiking sign? I always feel bad when I can only speak english. My Dad was an alcoholic on beer. I was in my 50s before I finally accepted the fact. To me it was a weakness and not to be accepted, Especially in ones father. Now you have me (us?) looking forward to pix of the spring. Seems like desert landscape and a spring would be an oasis I guess.
    Be well Shimon.

    • The sign just says ‘Joel Springs’. I liked it because of the picture of the hiker with a backpack on it. I suppose that watching an alcoholic up close would be enough to turn a fellow against drink. I too, used to study my father’s weaknesses, thinking I’d avoid this and that. For most of my life, I thought I was mostly like my mother. But then as I grew older, I started seeing my father’s face in the mirror, and found I’d inherited some of his weaknesses too. They didn’t include food or alcohol though. I managed to find hedonism on my own/ Yes, it is wonderful to study an oasis. Though I don’t know how much time I’ll be spending in the desert this summer. After being away from Jerusalem for a while in the last year, I find it hard to go off these days… Thanks for the comment, Bob. Always so good to hear from you.

  18. “There has to be a balance”. Absolutely! Constant running making career, reaching goals, all those “must” and “should” shoudn’t be our entire life, for our own best. We all need to stop sometimes and admire wild flowers, floating water, listen to the pace of nature. Only then can we feel whole…

    • If you remember, Iltana, when I first happened across your blog, I told you that you didn’t have to reciprocate. I just loved the way you photographed, and examined the environment around you. I had the feeling even then, that you knew just how to enjoy the beauty around you… and of course, it’s the balance that brings it all together.

  19. trying so hard to catch up to life we forget to live it? maybe we ask too much from it or ourselves or both, like believing lions drink beer. well . . . maybe they do.

    • Yes Marit, I think that’s exactly it… we can get so busy, we miss the best. There was this fantastic story teller and artist called Shel Silverstein who lived in Chicago, back a few years… and he wrote this song that still makes me smile, even when thinking about it… ‘I was stoned, and I missed it’. But even that is probably better than, ‘I was working and I missed it’. As for lions drinking beer, I’ve never seen that. But I do have a cat who insists on partaking in my meals. And she’s always eager to try anything I like… I still can’t get over the way she licks her lips after eating avocado…

  20. I have always found that walking in nature is the time when natural rhythms are formed which in turn allows creative thoughts to flow. I also think the beer you enjoyed would help enormously:) Continue to enjoy relaxing walks in nature and give Nechame a great big hug from me. x

    • Now and then, I do give Nechama a little kiss, and say, that one’s from Janet, my dear friend. Sometimes, I take a walk just to clear my head… or to think about a problem… but I always get so much farther… It’s a great way to lift one’s spirits… and often provides inspiration as well. As for the beer, I like it for the bubbles… but once I’m at it, I go all the way… Sending you a big hug from me. xxx

  21. Yes,walking and looking trees and flowers is to be in harmony with timings of the natural world.And of course the feeling of the fresh air on the skin is so good..we miss that in winter time.

    • Having had a car for most of my life, I realized at some point that I could have the whole world going by my window, and not really experience it… so I started walking more and trying to drive less. Thanks for your comment CW, and best wishes for a very beautiful day… it’s getting to be the right season for a bike ride too.

  22. I do love to stroll on hidden path… among wild flowers and quiet Nature… You just need to close your eye, let the sun shine on your face, hear all the music of the insects… All the rest loses its weight, its importance… You surely did enjoy it! Take good care, dear Shimon… :-)c

    • Ah, you describe it so well, Claudine… the music of the insects… and I will add to that, the music of the birds, which seem to be in ample supply around here these days. We even have a metallic blue humming bird that has been paying us visits recently… But I have to admit, that since childhood, I find it hard to close my eyes. I guess, I’m just afraid to miss something… I should do that a bit more. Now in old age, my imagination has found some of the flexibility that abandoned my arms and legs… Thanks so much for your comment.

  23. Enjoyed your post Shimon. Great images as well. Take care old fellow!

  24. I enjoyed the walk as well Shimon. And i enjoyed your reflections on quiet time even more. Thank you for sharing the beauty around you.

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, Madhu. It’s beginning to feel like summer, and it’s more and more fun to get outside, and enjoy nature. I’ve been trying to catch up since the big move, and don’t seem to get nearer yet… but maybe the long days of summer will help me. Thanks for your comment.

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