comeback

The way I look at life, there are incarnations, and there are chapters. And since moving to my new home, I don’t know whether this is a chapter or a reincarnation. In any case, it’s different from any life I’ve lived before. Nechama, my dear cat is still living with me. She seems a little older though, and she gazes mostly through her right eye. The pupil of her left is slow to open or close. She had some sort of eye infection, and never recovered fully.

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You might remember that I stopped posting here a while after moving to this new house. We were enjoying a wave of terror attacks here in Jerusalem, and this life around me became so absurd and obnoxious that I thought myself incapable of dealing with it; how could I describe it. Time goes by. It’s relative of course. A day is a much smaller part of one’s life after 80 years than it appears to be at 8. Aside from that, we seem to perform much slower when we’re old, and so it happens sometimes, that the day comes to a close before we’ve actually gotten into the swing of things.

Finding myself in a new home didn’t come smoothly for me. For some time I was still bouncing back and forth between my new home and the home of a friend. Truly, there was nowhere I felt at home. I was a ‘displaced person’. I am just now beginning to feel the generation of tiny new absorbent roots reaching out from the base of my existence. It’s a childlike experience and takes some work to integrate into the consciousness of an old cat such as myself. As I write you, I sit at my desk with an open window before me, looking out at a number of well cultured trees, and another building made of stone. I’ve read that the roots of trees can have a circumference three times that of the branches. It is easy to lose touch with a friend who no longer lives down the street… Some friends have died. Some have gone off in a different direction. When I try to meet with a friend I haven’t seen for a couple of years, I hesitate. I’ve changed so much recently. I hardly recognize myself. It seems quite possible that my friend has changed as well. Will we be able to understand one another? Will we still be speaking the same language? I remember my parents meeting friends after the war. They were bent, prematurely gray, scarred for life. And looking at one another, their eyes would light up, and they’d say, ‘you haven’t changed a bit’. I thought they were lying to be kind. Now I understand better.

It’s something of the same dilemma when sitting down to blog. Am I obliged to tell of the changes. If I didn’t, the reader might suppose that this Shimon fellow had gone turned himself into a corpse, and some other rascal continues to abuse the space hollowed out by that first fellow, why, who knows… maybe to sell coca-cola and attract likes on facebook. On the other hand, sometimes you can see through the wrinkles right into the soul. That’s what I thought when I heard Leonard Cohen’s last song. So maybe I don’t have to apologize before starting again… just thinking about it makes me dizzy. Still it is habit that keeps us alive. Hold on to your toothbrush, your walk around the block after dinner… and throwing out that ball across the field so your doggy can fetch it. Without them the chasm yawns.

There was a year that hurt like hell after my dear doctor gave me this pill that was going to prolong my life. What a disaster! I hurt every day. I started praying for death. And when you’re taking 12 pills every day, it’s easy to forget why you take the 13th. Well, I finally went to the doctor and he changed my medicines.

Then a delegation from Pitcairn Island came here to visit me here in Jerusalem. They were unhappy because I hadn’t filled out my tax return for 1967. My claim that I was never a Pitcairn citizen, that I had never lived there, and that 50 years had passed since last I visited were dismissed out of hand. A photo of mine had been published in a magazine, and a payment had been sent. And I hadn’t paid taxes. It was that simple. They threatened to freeze my bank account. My lawyer smiled when he saw me.

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After that, my downstairs neighbor decided to renovate his apartment. Immediately after replacing a good part of the sewer system he began with the destruction of his internal walls. They used an air drill called a Congo here in Israel, and this tool produced a sound which I can only compare to a crashing air liner. The only difference is that when an airplane crashes, it’s all over in a few minutes. But this renovation had all the longevity of inter tribal wars in central Africa, or revolution. It just kept going on and on. Though I bought ear muffs that supposedly protected my ears from the noise, my brain became all the more receptive and aware of what was going on under me. I felt like I was sitting on a volcano.

Through every one of these aftershocks, I kept telling myself that when it was all over… when things had returned to normal… when there was peace and quiet here… I would consider going back to writing. But these were trembling words spoken in the storm.

I found some comfort in a Scientific American article which claimed that after the dinosaurs were decimated by a falling asteroid (or monkey wrench, believe what you will), life bounced back in the vicinity of the mass extinction after a mere 30,000 years. So it seems, all I have to do is wait.

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101 responses to “comeback

  1. Welcome back. I am FYI g with laughter at your post. Thanks for the joy. Tomorrow I will reread and focus on the wisdom of what you are saying. I saw it but the laughter filled the space for today
    Please keep writing. Your friends are many more than you know

    • Thanks very much, Mary. Oh, how good it is to laugh. And it’s the type of applause I appreciate most… very healthy too. It was delightful to get your comment first.

  2. How nice to see/to hear you again dear Shimon! I have really missed you, your writing, your lovely cat, …. You made me so happy. I can almost understand you, everything same and goes like that for us too… Only My Princess, my cat is not with me anymore. She died a few months ago. And you know how much I love cats. Life, dear Shimon, with memories and by collecting memories going on…. Believe me I am sitting in the volcano too in İstanbul, everywhere is a construction area and I can’t recognize my city. Everything changes… I can’t catch none of them. But I know the changes about me, every morning I can feel more, this is not me as before…. 🙂
    Nechama, how much I love you, I am so glad to see you too, Thank you for you both, Blessing, peace and happiness for you, Love, nia

    • Yes, my dear Nia, I know how you love cats. I am so sorry to hear that your princess is gone. I can imagine how difficult it is without her; that empty space where she once might have stood. I think of you often, worrying sometimes when the weather seems treacherous in your neighborhood. I expect I’ll be writing more about change. I’ve discovered it is the key to understanding life, and yet we have this great longing for things to stay as they were when we remember the good we’ve enjoyed. I’ve learned a lot from cats, and I continue to learn from Nechama… as she continues to learn from me. Thank you for your blessing. It is good to be back… with love.

  3. I was just about to leave when I saw your e mail in my box (you are one of the few people whose wordpress blog is allowed into my e mail box.!) I always hoped that you would start again. I am so very happy to see you and the beautiful Nechama and both looking so well…and of course unchanged 🙂 I totally understand what it is to feel disconnected…..it’s not very pleasant, and so when at last feelings of root start to develop it is always with a sense of relief. The Pitcairn story is beyond belief….and the having to cope with awful noise – (my pet hate) a horror, but you have survived….and I for one am very pleased. Have to go now….You have made my day. Janet x

    • Oh, it’s a great honor, my dear Janet, to know that my posts get straight to you through the mail. I too am glad to have survived this period. Like a cat, I have a tendency to go off and hide when I’m not feeling well, to direct all energies inward. But since life itself is ‘interactive’. It seems to me that sometimes, when my spirits are down, I seem more receptive to the difficult aspects of the adventure, and wonder if I don’t attract difficulty, and then find myself drifting into a vicious circle. Pain brings on weakness and retreat. But as you said, I’ve survived. And I hope that soon I’ll be celebrating life again. Very good to receive your welcome back. xxx

      • Good morning dear Shimon….I always say I am much like a cat in that when I don’t feel well – I hide. I believe that negativity begets more negativity and an upbeat view of life does the opposite, but having said that – it is sometimes difficult to get out of a downward spiral. I am so pleased that you are now on the up and up…and I am quite sure that Nechama feels the same way. I meant to say that the portrait of you in your blog is wonderful….how much I would love to sit in front of you and paint you. a superb subject. I can now look forward to more of your writings, which pleases me greatly. Peace and Love my friend. janet xxx

  4. Shimon–it is so good to have you back. I was hoping this day would happen and it did. You and Nechama both look well. Teemu, my little guy in the photo is now 14 and still chugging along. Slowly, but he is chugging. Keep on, Shimon. I am so happy to see you again. Much love to you.

    • Very good to receive your comment, Loisa, and happy to hear that Teemu is still doing well. It is always a pleasure to see his familiar face. Best wishes to you.

  5. I thought my eyes were mistaken…..seeing is believing, I decided. It was, it definitely is you. Welcome, welcome back Shimon.

    For all the pathos, you give a beautfiully crafted and vibrant exposition of your experiences and emotions during your period of regeneration.

    It is lovely to see Nechama, more regal and sedate now. No doubt, she will still keep you in line as she always has!

    May I ask at which occasion was the photo of you taken? I noticed one lit candle as opposed to candles.

    XX

    • Glad to be back in touch, Menhir. Thank you for your kind words. After reading what you wrote, I looked at the picture again, and saw the image of the candle as you described it. But in fact, it was night time, and a ceiling lamp was lit. The blinds were shut on the windows, but between the blinds we see a street lamp coming through. It does look like a candle. Good to hear from you.

      • Thank you Shimon.
        These days most comments are to be found on the WP site under the ‘reply’ alert bell. I still get some emails, which I do prefer. So far, I haven’t found a way to restore the email notification of replies, which, usually receive much swifter attention. This accounts for my late response to your explanation. I guess what I prefer is the opposite of what WP wants.
        Smashing to hear from you.
        xx

  6. Great to have you back. I’m sure the 30000 years will feel like nothing. Take care.

  7. Welcome back, Shimon. So glad to read your blog again. Looking forward for more.

    • My dear Pavel, it was really a very pleasant surprise finding your comment here on the blog. I am reminded of you so often… especially of conversations we had on justice and the treatment of suspects by police. At least, this blog explains somewhat why I have been so poor at correspondence recently. It is good to renew contact. Hope all is well with you and yours.

  8. Its morning here in Montreal, and it’s going to be a great day because of you. Welcome back old cat, I am sure that many of your readers have been waiting for this return. Yves P.

    • Hi there Yves in Montreal. Maybe because the digital revolution came late in my life, I’ve often been plagued by doubts concerning the ‘virtual’ world. But this latest trial I’ve been through has changed my perspective, and left me more open to the things I don’t understand. And rationality aside, it feels very good to hear from old friends. Thank you.

  9. Oh my, Shimon,
    Your writing is still powerful and touching. The waiting might be over, no?
    Wishing for you to be surrounded by gentleness and tenderness.

    x Karen

    • Thank you so much, Karen, for your good wishes and kind words. Truthfully, waiting seems to me a terrible waste of time. I try to make every day a satisfying experience, and try to do what is possible. There’s still room for fantasy and dreams, but life offers us the most when we’re wide awake. Of course, I don’t always succeed. And when I fall on my face, I try humor to distract myself from my troubles. Best wishes. x

  10. Well, what a pleasure it was to discover a post from you today! How I’ve missed you! Tell you what, there was neither sight nor sound of any trembling in these words, they are as strong, humourous and poignant as ever, and I will always see you through your wrinkles, although having said that, I seem to have more than you. I can sympathize re your pain and horrendous renovations, and laughed out loud at the tax issues, how absurd! It is wonderful seeing you and Nechama and catching up. Hoping for more, soon, until then, lots of love from your old friend Dina, who is grimly hanging onto her toothbrush!!!

    • My dear Snowbird, I was like an elderly cat, sitting on a high branch of a familiar tree… watching the world go by below. I wasn’t hungry nor thirsty, and there didn’t seem any reason to get out of that tree. It was your friendship that tempted me to descend and rejoin the company of sentient beings. Thank you so much. xxx

  11. Shimon! No one can write like you! I have missed your words and personality very much and am spilling over with gratitude for the writing you give to us this day! I don’t think anyone can describe life, the intimate close-up encounters with cat or noise or tree in the particular way that you do. I am looking forward to your next post. Wishing you every sort of blessing. Kathleen

    • Very good to hear from you Kathleen. Don’t know whether you’re familiar with the work of Andre Kertesz. He was a hero of mine when I was just getting into the profession. A master of black and white, he devoted a lot of his energy to street photography. Once, in the 80s I was visiting America and heard of an exhibition of his work. He was already an old man. I’d heard he was something of a recluse after his wife had died. And I was expecting to see some of his finest photos from a lifetime of inspiration. A summing up, I thought. What I saw, was as much a surprise as it was inspiring. He had gotten hold of a Polaroid camera, and presented a series of 4×5 inch color prints, all of which were well framed. He had done all his work in his apartment. There were some fantastic shots of glass sculpture. His use of color was as striking as what he had done in black and white. What an artist. He lived till he died. Thank you for your blessing.

  12. Thank you, you made me smile at the mention of Cohen, now my ears are filled with his voice. No offense but the things you’ve been through sound like they could make a good dark comedic film. It won’t make you feel any better about it, but we just lived through Hurricane Harvey, which flooded huge areas in Texas that had NEVER been flooded before. Somehow it didn’t flood our home, but my city had no potable water for more than a week, and no route on roads to get out of the flooded area. So essentially we were an island. Which made me think of the “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge – Water, water everywhere, / Nor any drop to drink.

    • It’s wonderful meeting you here, Rustycat. You used to send me links and signs of life, but haven’t heard from you for some time. But then, I was silent myself. There’s a price to pay for everything and anything. But I’m grateful that you reminded me of the The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. When I first encountered that poem, as a young man, I had my reservations. Yet strangely enough, despite age (which usually influences us towards the brittle and hard, I find myself more patient to innocence. Revisiting this work of art has been a pleasure. And what you said about Hurricane Harvey is very relevant to thoughts I’ve had while soul searching recently. It was difficult for me to decide whether to go back to blog or to go into permanent retirement. But reading about the hurricane, the fires in California, and other disasters around the world heightened my awareness of tragedy as part of life. It was easier to assess the specific gravity of disaster in the life of man when viewing the disasters of others. I was too subjective in the study of my own. I’m glad that Harvey passed you by. Wishing you continuous learning and an occasional adventure.

  13. How sweet it was to see you in the in-box this morning…. I’m so glad you’re still here with us. What wonderful words…and thank you for the pictures.

    • Thanks Scott. Yes, still here, but slower moving as time goes by. I eat a lot less than I did when I was middle aged. And the same is true about almost all the different aspects of life. I guess we have to learn how to live taking small steps if we’re lucky enough to see old age. It’s a pleasure hearing from you.

  14. Good morning. It’s lovely to see you here. I’m happy to hear you still have your beloved cat. Sorry to hear about the unpleasant renovation. The tax insanity is mind boggling. With some old friends, it doesn’t matter how long it’s been there is a connection that only waits for the opportunity to touch again. I recently enjoyed an adventure with friends I haven’t seen in over nine years. Our friendship deepened and strengthened. I look forward to seeing them again in three years. I’ve keep a hopeful eye open for a notice from your blog, and today it arrived. I’m looking forward to you sharing your corner of the world again.

    • Thank you very much for your words of encouragement, Judy. I was moved by your description of getting together with old friends. I’m afraid that in my sorrow over some of misadventures in the last couple of years, I forgot the importance of friends. Coming back to the internet, I’ve experienced a share of the joy of renewed friendship, and it’s a great pleasure. I hope that even if my perspective has changed I will continue to be worthy of your friendship.

  15. My dear Shimon,
    I’ve missed you so very much. Thoughts of you have taken up permanent habitation in my mind and heart.
    With much love from your friend Vicky in Seattle

    • Thank you Vicky. I really appreciate your joining this party. I remember your visit, and sharing with you some of the places I love in the holy land. I remember too, many years before I met you, visiting Seattle and exchanging impressions with some fisherman who’d just come to shore with their catch. How sweet it is to bridge across the seas by way of love for nature and mankind… and cats and horses too.

  16. So glad to see this post! I have thought of you, and wondered about you, and it is great to see your return.

  17. Bless you, Shimon. I have so missed your posts and have thought of you often. Pitcairn Island…who knew?

    • Yes, Cathy, there are some strange fish in the sea… and strange monkeys on land. We have to watch our steps if we’re going to see the world. But here and there we’re enlightened and inspired, and that makes the adventure so worthwhile. I thought I’d come home to rest, but then the butterflies flew up from my belly to my head, and this turned out to be still another adventure. Thank you for your blessing.

  18. Hi Shimon!
    So nice to have you back. I am struck with your mention of Pitcairn Is. Would love to know more. How old is that cat now?

    • Oh Dr Bob. How good it is to see you here. Nechama my cat is 12 years old. Which isn’t that old, really. I’ve had a cat that lived 18 years with me. But this one has gone through some hard times with me. Like me, she was uprooted when she’d gotten used to a certain environment and neighbors she knew well. So far, we’re both managing… but not as frisky as we used to be.

  19. So great to read your words again and see your face, Shimon.

    • Very good to see you too, Bill. I’ve been following some of your hikes, and I admire your strength and your focus on nature. One has to work harder these days, it seems to me, to enjoy nature without the crowd. And you and the Goddess have been doing that very elegantly. Best wishes.

  20. So good to find you back on my screen, Shimon. You’ve braved the ups and downs, and here to tell the tale(s). Bravo, my friend, and more power to your disconnected roots – that they reach some ground that suits. On the other hand, some of us are just disconnected full stop. It could be the source of one’s creativity? Like grit in an oyster? Just a thought. Cheers!

    • I agree with you, Tish. That little grit in the oyster is much like the ache in the heart of the poet, or the obsession in the head of the artist. There is a French saying that happy people have no history… echoed in the works of Tolstoy. I remember reading Margaret Mead relate to the same issue when speaking of islands cultures that were unaware of the modern world. I believe that were it a choice, I would prefer to be a well adjusted person who lived his life simply and happily. But of course we have no choice. We come to this world innocently, and discover the complexity slowly, and are expected to play a part in the sound and the fury, the chaos, the cruelty, and the madness. And sometimes there’s luck… or bad luck. We try to find our way. Thank you for your comment. It is good to see you. I like your ID shot next to the comment. It seems new to me. Wish I could see a larger version.

  21. We all change, Shimon… the happenings in life make us change, as it does it the time elapsing.
    Nice having you back. I missed your posts, always so enlightening… you still have so much to give away, freely and with an open heart. This is the most beautiful way to consider being alive… by letting “signs” of our presence.
    Be in peace and serenity 🙂

    • Thank you for your welcome back, Claudine. It’s quite true, what you say. The world is in constant change, and it is only because of the difference in the rate of change, that some things… like a great boulder or a pyramid built in memory of a king, might seem to be permanent. And those of us who are scared of the changes try to hold on to some form of permanence, try to conserve… to be conservative, to hold on to what was and is slipping away all the time. Yes, I share your longing for peace and serenity… but there seems very little of it in the life that I have known. My best wishes to you.

  22. Dear Mr. Shimon, Such a joy to read your post and seeing you, and I’m reading with tears in my eyes. Happy to know Nechama is there with you. You tell the changes you have to face so graciously and your frustrations about the noise humorously, but I can feel the pain for you.. I feel like I was sitting beside you listening to your stories. Thank you for thought about us. I have missed you.

    • Dear Amy, it gives me great pleasure to follow your posts. You set a high standard. I wonder sometimes, where you find the energy to bring us, your friends, so much of the great world around us. But more than anything else, I enjoy the taste of what attracts you. What a blessing it is to sit in the poem gardens of Tokyo to collect my thoughts… for you have opened that possibility to me, as well as a hundred other corners of paradise, to find refuge from the storm and inspiration on my way. I am overcome by what I don’t know and what I don’t understand, and find my solace in my friends. Thank you so much for what you’ve shared with me.

      • Dear Mr. Shimon, I’m humbled. Your encouraging responses will continue getting me going with good energy. It’s my great pleasure to communicate the way I see the world around us through my photos.
        I recall, some years ago a blogger talked about her wonderful goal for taking photos, I reply that mine is small, I just want bring beauty to my readers. You read my mind, I am so touched.
        Thank you very much for sharing your deep thoughts of finding refuge from the storm and your solace in your friends with me. I know it’s not easy, but will try to learn to find the same comfort and peace from you.

        Amy

  23. Blessings to you and Nechama, Shimon, and thank you for the joy I experienced by receiving this post! You’ve certainly had your share of darkness, but that’s where roots are grown, after all!

    I find myself changed by such periods, too, but, lucky for me, my friends also have dark times and times of growth, so we manage to share what we’ve been through and how we’ve grown, and stay friends, but the bond deepens. Usually. 🙂

    I love the photos of you and Nechama: you both look so distinguished and wise. I send you wishes for gentle peace and nourished roots, and so look forward to your future posts.

    Great love,
    Kitty

    • I am grateful for having had a chance to get to know you, Kitty. Your writings and photos have always been a song of joy for me, a spiritual thanks for the miracle and the beauty of this world which we sometimes take for granted. How good it is to be welcomed home by you, even after you have chosen to go on to other pursuits. You’ve radiated love for the world, and enriched me with your positive attitude.

  24. I hope you will keep writing, Shimon, changed as you may be. We are each always changing and I’d like to get to know you all over again through your words if you will write and let us in. I am quite changed from having become a mother and I had a hard time writing for a long while after each of my babies because I wasn’t sure I was the same person who belonged in the same writing space anymore. But I realize now that though I’m changed, my love for words and writing remain and I must just keep tapping out the words and the story even if the whole thing, my whole person, is quite fluid.
    Enjoyed the picture of you and your dear kitty ❤

    • What you say is so true, my dear Kari. We are always changing… hopefully growing. And there are chapters in our lives, like becoming a mother, and introducing our children to this world we’ve barely had time to understand. I’ve seen my children grow up and become members of society, and watch now as my grandchildren find their places in this world. Who I was at the beginning of this journey has become just a memory now, and among friends I continue the journey, sharing the passing moments, and strengthened by the sense of community in common taste and shared expression. Thanks so much for your encouragement.

  25. I an re-reading this on my desktop, and studying the pictures. Looks like there’s a minuscule line of light where the curtains meet, which, on a small portable device, was not so defined. It gave me a great excuse- not that I needed one- to read your beautiful phrasing again. You have a great gift Shimon. x

    • I explained what it was that looked like a candle in answer to your previous comment. But because you asked what occasion it was, that only one candle was lit, I thought I might mention that there are two occasions that come to me immediately, in which just one candle is lit. The first is the ceremony when we conclude our sabbath. It is called ‘differentiating’ in Hebrew, and it’s a very moving ceremony. If I haven’t written about it yet (I’ll have to check), I’ll do so soon, because it is one of my favorite ceremonies. The other time just one candle is used is when we are in mourning. Then we light a candle which lasts 24 hours, and it reminds us of that little light that still flickers as long as we’re alive. Thanks so much for your support.

      • Do Yartzeit candles differ much and would it be a religious issue? I have seen the main prayer ceremonies in peoples’ homes where a candle is lit, but thereafter, the memorial candle for a person that is often used, is a tea light. I can think of safety reasons for the tea light being used.
        Marking the incoming and outgoing Shabbat with a candle/s and a prayer are touching experiences.
        M

        • I don’t know what a tea light is. But I don’t think it matters much. The candle is an abstract symbol for a thought. Yes, there is a lot that can be learned from candles.

  26. So glad to see you here Shimon, the last post I am reading before Shabbos. Your words struck a chord about age and how we see the days and friends we have known. Though I am 20 years younger than you, I know I think differently about life than I did 20 years ago. Shabbat Shalom to you.

    • And it is very sweet to receive your welcome back, Elisheva. Yes, we do change. And this constant change would be heartbreaking were it not for our ability to see things in context. Those of us who have chosen to consecrate certain aspects of our lives are able to see things in a four dimensional reality, which is a still more comfortable context. My best wishes to you and your loved ones for a very good new year.

  27. Shimon, hello! Your post put a smile on my face. Your writing is as vivid as ever. I hope to read more from you. Keep well!! And wishing you a calm and quiet weekend 🙂

    • Oh Marina, I feel a bit like Rip Van Winkle… Like I went to buy a beer at the grocery store, and kept wandering at my fancy… and now have found myself back with old friends after a couple of years disappearance. We got to know one another quite some time ago. Thank you for your good wishes. So nice to meet with you again.

  28. Welcome back, Shimon. Thank you for the smiles and chuckles. Your post has brightened the day of many of your friends.

    • Thanks very much, Myra. May I only be a cause for smiles and chuckles. It sounds delightful. And it’s very sweet getting your comment here. May we enjoy bright days together.

  29. Good to find you in my emails again. There’s no doubt that it is the real Shimon as no one writes quite like you. Look forward to more posts.

    • Thank you Bev. You know, sometimes just taking a walk around the block changes one’s perspective, and then all the familiar sights are as if they were new. It’s a bit like being reborn… another opportunity to savor life.

  30. I share the joy expressed by others before me. I too ha e out down new roots, and the challenge to coax their growth is disorienting. Most importantly, I hope you are well. You have been missed.

    • Thank you for your kind words Mimi. After a very difficult period, I feel I’m recovering and getting my balance back. Have been thinking a lot about Karma these days, and there are some chains of thought that have stayed with me since the day of atonement which we celebrated a while back. Best wishes to you.

  31. Dear Shimon, I have missed you and it’s a joy to see you here. Some things take time and you have gifted yourself that, which is a kindness. You and Nechama look well and there is a calmness that comes through in your words. You have been brave my friend. Hugs for you. Xx

    • Thank you for pointing out my kindness, even if it was towards myself. I suppose that because I don’t see myself as kind, I don’t much think of kindness to myself either. It seems to me more like a basic instinct, like a cat finding a corner to hide and recover when he’s suffering… but it is good to receive your comfort, and I return with a big hug. xxx

  32. I’ve always wonder what really is like to be a residence of Jerusalem, the Promised Land and to be able to read it in simplicity yet profound. I remember your parting words and thankful for your words of wisdom. Maybe I will visit it again, the third time around but I have to wait for it to call me. Shalom and Pax. Such beautiful photo of you and the cat.

    • Yes, it is good to take things as they come. I’ve known people who visited Jerusalem (and at times I was their guide) but it seems to me that it is hard to know this beautiful city of mine without speaking Hebrew. It is a very old city, and includes in it’s space the hearts and minds of generations of people, some of whom held her in their hearts even in exile… But fortunately for those who love her, the holiness that we know here can be found the world over. My best wishes to you, and thanks.

  33. I’d like to say something clever about how happy I am that you’re back, but 32 people have been there before me. All I can add is, hooray!!
    A delegation from Pitcairn Island finally caught up with you and your shenanigans. Sounds like an Ephraim Kishon story in the making. xx

    • When I first started blogging, I had that feeling a number of times. I’d read something I really liked, and then look at the comments, and I felt I had nothing to say. Finally, I did write something pretty much like what you’ve written here, and the wonderful English Teacher that I had written to told me that she appreciated hearing from every reader; that just a touch… just a word at times, was enough to let her know that there was another human being out there who understood her and cared. Since then, I’ve been adding comments when a post moved me, even if there were quite a few people who’d already said things I could be saying. Thank you very much, Mary. It is a pleasure hearing from you. I liked Kishon’s writing very much. And most of all I enjoyed his movie about the Blaumilch canal.

  34. What a pleasure to see you writing your blog again Shimon. You’ve been missed. I’ve had a pretty disconnected year myself. I too have moved home and know exactly how you feel. You look well and Nechama is as beautiful as ever.
    Looking forward to hearing more from you. So glad you’re back.

    • And it’s very good to get your comment here, Chillbrook. Even though I’ve been spending a lot less time with the internet since I took a break in writing, I have been following your work, and am very happy for your success. One of my dearest friends used to encourage me to photograph fog and fog banks… but it was very hard for me to see the beauty in them. But looking at some of your photos, I see what she must have wanted for me.

  35. So glad to see you back on line again, Shimon, with your dry wit and interesting take on what we call life. I’ve been rather remiss myself. Perhaps your good example will get me back to the computer again, so that we can go on exchanging compliments through the blogosphere….

    • I do hope that my example will encourage you to do a lot of writing, Nina, because I miss you whenever a long time goes by without hearing of your adventures. As for exchanging compliments, ahhh. In real life, I’m not known for any talent in that direction, so it is pleasant to discover that this is something I can do in the virtual world. I remember my heart being stirred by a poem I once read, translated from the Japanese in which the world that we know was identified as being a bubble within a bubble. And maybe in that light, this world in which we can talk to one another without our bodies present, may be another bubble inside that bubble within the bubble. Ah, the wonder of life.

  36. This does my heart good. I’ve missed you…and I think you for today’s offering, with all of its contrary flavors. It nourishes my soul.

  37. I join with all your blog friends, Shimon, and say how lovely it is to have you back amongst us with your honesty and humour.

    • Thank you Gill. It is my pleasure too. As you might know, face in Hebrew is always used in the plural. I have the feeling that after my most recent adventures, my readers will see another of my faces. This feeling arouses in me a shyness that is somewhat unfamiliar. Maybe it’ll let go after awhile. I remember feeling it when if first started lecturing, many years ago in the classroom. That time it left me eventually.

  38. t smith knowles

    I concur with all the the rest…welcome back. My soul is uplifted…………………..

    • So good to get your personal welcome back, Smith Knowles. I’ve been remembering some of my experiences as a teacher in the last few minutes. What stands out most in that experience, was the tremendous amount of learning I experienced. I learned with every one of my students, and it took a great self-discipline to withstand all of the knowledge that was offered me. Meeting our fellow man in pleasant context can be a very uplifting experience.

  39. Hi Shimon. I’m a bit late at welcoming you back, but I kept the email as unread to serve as a constant reminder. Aging isn’t easy, but I can tell you are managing. Cheers to your new house and the Nechama is still present in your life. It’s good to read your blend of philosophy and wit in your posts.

    • I tell you Frank, I used to think of myself as a rather empathetic fellow. And a lot of the people I most enjoyed spending my time with, were old. I thought I understood them at the time. But now, when I remember certain situations, I realize I didn’t understand them well at all. Time always surprises us. Thanks so much for coming by.

  40. It is so good to see you again! I’ve missed you! It sounds like the time has been far from easy, but you made it through, that’s great. 😀

  41. Life turns us on the pottery wheel. Shaping us into new forms – the clay remains true.
    All the best.

  42. I hope you are back for at least a good long while. I’ve missed your posts and even though you’ve been good about popping in and commenting on my blog, I have still missed your words, your photos, your wisdom. I’m looking forward to seeing it here for some time. A big, sincere, virtual hug of welcome back!

    • You’ve got such a sweet smile on your icon, Corina. I used to describe myself, when meeting new people, as half Jewish and half cat. And part of the fun of being a cat is having 9 lives. And even here in the virtual world, I’m able to enjoy it. Sort of like being reborn. Thanks very much for your good wishes.

  43. I’ve visited this post several times, but the first few, I couldn’t get past your photo. It’s so wonderful. It has a painterly quality, rather like the portraits done by Vermeer. The light is splendid, and given the location of its source, it seems as though you’re looking not at an object, but at the light itself. The half-seen objects — a napkin? a plate? an ipad? — are a perfect metaphor for those little roots you mention in the post itself. What’s worth remembering about roots is that they develop unseen and without any apparent movement, even while the tree is quite stationary.

    But enough of all that. I’m so happy to see you here. I’ve missed you tremendously. As for the changes you’ve been through, and the way they’ve shaped you and your relationship to those around you, I couldn’t help but think of the first lines of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116:

    Let me not to the marriage of true minds
    Admit impediments. Love is not love
    Which alters when it alteration finds,
    Or bends with the remover to remove.
    O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
    That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
    It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
    Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken…

    That fellow had a way with words, didn’t he? You do, too. I’m glad to be able to read them again.

    • Thank you Linda, for sharing Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116 here. After not having read Shakespeare for over 50 years, it led to unexpected thoughts and emotions. It seems to me now that I was too young when I read him, and somewhat overwhelmed by his reputation. Were it not for my (distant) memory of those early impressions, I would think that his description had helped to shape my own understanding of love. Reading his words now, I delight in appreciation of their truth. In the last few years, I’ve spent some time revisiting volumes that nurtured me in my early development; rereading what I thought I knew. It’s a moving experience.
      Your thoughts on growing roots were encouraging; haven’t really gotten my ‘land legs’ back since my return to blogging. Glad you enjoyed the photo.

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