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Monday, September 9, 2013

... from Lower Galilee

Sunset over Mount Tabor
We've spent the Jewish New Year weekend in Kfar Kisch, a small village in Lower Galilee. "What are you doing while you're there? - asked my mom. - Probably taking some walks in the countryside, enjoying the views." Truth is, we hadn't. One of the reasons was that we're not such fans of countryside walks; but another one was the fact that the view from our B&B room was so spectacular, that we basically just spent most of the time simply enjoying it without leaving the premises.
According to wikipedia, the Lower Galilee is the southern part of the Galilee, and it's called "Lower" since it is less mountainous than the Upper Galilee. Mount Tabor is one of its tallest peaks. This is what makes the view so especially beautiful: to the west (perfect for sunset watching), you can see a chain of low hills, dominated by Mount Tabor. There's no settlement in view, except for the one at the base of Mount Tabor - and of course there's a church on its summit, since according to Christian tradition this was the site of the Transfiguration.
Transfiguration and Mount Tabor are mentioned in one of the most wonderful (in my opinion) poems ever written - "August" by Boris Pasternak. This is one of the poems included in Pasternak's novel "Doctor Zhivago", since its protagonist, Yuri Zhivago, is also a poet... Yuri Zhivago - or Pasternak himself - describes the vision of his own wake. As often in Pasternak's poetry, the hero is at first shaken by the image of upcoming death, but is sustained by his art and his faith... Here's an excerpt from the poem, in Andrey Kneller's beautiful translation (you can find the full text on the translator's site).

<...>
Then I recalled what had been done
To make my pillow moist, I ached,
I dreamt you walking, one by one,
Across the forest to my wake.

And while the crowd was proceeding,
All of a sudden, someone stirred:
It was the sixth of August, meaning,
-- Transfiguration of Our Lord.

This day, from Mount Thabor, often,
A flameless light burns through the skies
And autumn, like a lucid omen,
Draws to itself observant eyes.

<...>
“Farewell, the blue Transfiguration,
Farewell, the gold of festive blessings.
Come soothe this hopeless desperation
With gentle, womanly caresses.

<...>
Farewell, the wingspan and the reach,
Farewell, the free, persistent soaring,
And world’s reflection caught in speech,
Creative work and wonder-working.”

(Linking to Our World Tuesday.)

5 comments:

Nelli L said...

Just a wonderful view. Israel is absolutely beautiful <3

Jim said...

Magic sunset.

Katrin said...

Yes, beautiful and magic!

Gary Phillips said...

Great shot!! 1045 ocaulat

Dina said...

The view alone, or the poem alone, would have been enough. But in combination, they are very moving.