When I was little, I wanted to take a bite out of a cloud.
This desire occurred to me whenever I was on an airplane, staring out of the window. In my little head, I imagined stepping outside onto a cumulus pillow and taking a bite of white fluff. It was a little confusing when we actually flew through the clouds. Instead of the opaque fluff of my imagination, the cloud was a thick mist just like fog on a winter’s day.
Now that I’m an adult, I love foggy winter days. That’s when I open my mouth and taste a cloud, fully aware that that’s exactly what I’m walking through at the top of our cloudy mountaintop town.
Fog is one of many wonderful things about wintertime in Israel.
Winter’s got a bad rap. As a former winter-hater, I get it: it’s cold, it’s dark, and the trees are bare. But in truth, there are dozens of things to appreciate about the winter season, especially here in Israel.
At the end of the summer Israel’s outdoors is not at its best. Plants are dry and wilted, the land is brown, and a thick layer of dust covers absolutely everything.
But as soon as the winter rains begin, summer’s grime washes away. Flowers start to sprout amidst a carpet of green, which seems to appear out of nowhere. First come cyclamen and narcissus, growing in clusters between rocks and boulders. Then the red and yellow flowers arrive on the scene. Mustard blossoms and anemone fill the fields along with other diminutive blooms, creating a happy place outdoors…for anyone who’s willing to step outside and take it in.
Step outside into the world of winter and you’ll discover wonderful contrasts. Delicate almond blossoms fill the trees in January and February, showering down a flurry of pink petals onto muddy fields below. On windy days, cold gusts simultaneously bite at your face and clear your head.
And that fog I mentioned?
Walk into a cloud of fog and somehow, you feel less exposed to the elements. Instead, the fog feels like a cocoon of sensory deprivation. Sounds, sights, and smells disappear as the mist wraps us up like a warm blanket.
This is not to say that all winter days in Israel are cold or overcast. Probably the most amazing thing about winter in Israel is that the weather is constantly changing. Cold spells are followed by warm spells – coat days by sweater weather. You can watch sheets of hail and rain fall outside of your window on Monday and go for a walk in a spring breeze on Wednesday, birds chirping merrily as the sun shines down from a cloud spattered blue sky.
The trees may be bare, but the ground is lush and beautiful. Get outside this winter and see the beauty of this special season, when you can taste a cloud and frolic in a field of flowers on the very same day.