Loving You

Come quick!

My husband’s shout propels me off my seat and out on the balcony.  The flock of White Storks are back.  They are flying overhead in a haphazard pattern, lazily flapping their massive wings as they circle their way over our heads and past the mountains.

I am leaning against the gate, my head raised, my toes lifting me up slightly so I can see a bit more, my arms extending towards the wonder that just flew by and the arm of my husband wrapped around my waist.

I exhale as the last straggler disappears from view.

We go inside.  I make a small remark about wanting to go to the Hula Valley to see the birds migrating before the season is over when I notice that my husband’s face is splitting with a beaming smile and a strange look in his eyes.

I love you.

I burst into peals of laughter as he says it over and over.

It’s been more than seven years since the first time he said he loved me.

He said he loved me even though I rolled my eyes when he pointed out a beautiful flower.

He said he loved me even though I told him zoos gave me a headache and that I had no interest in seeing fish swim around in an aquarium.

He said he loved me even though I told him that he could hike all he wanted without me.

He said he loved me even though I smirked as he caught a cockroach and freed it outside.

He said he loved me even though I made a face when he started talking about science.

He said he loved me even though I insisted that knowing how to tell birds apart was a weird and awkward bit of knowledge, especially for a kid growing up in Brooklyn.

Seven years of loving me without needing me to take an interest in what he thought interesting.

Seven years of smelling the flowers as I waited impatiently.

Seven years of appreciating the world around me while I took little notice.

Seven years of loving someone with an incredibly different disposition.

Until…suddenly…here I am…getting excited about a flock of birds on their way home from their winter retreat…looking up the differences between Great White Pelicans and White Storks…and laughing hysterically with someone who doesn’t quite know how he could change a person so much…just by loving them.

Three Yellow Tractors

The hills are green this time of year, beautiful shades of green.  Pale pink blossoms are exploding on the branches of the almond trees that dot the mountains.  The grass is lush and full.  There is mud from the wonderful rain that fell.  The red poppies have just bloomed.  You can see them from our porch.  They are hard to spot, but once you zone in on them they seem to be everywhere.  The birds fly low over the valley and then soar up as they reach the incline.  The paths that run through the mountains seem to go on forever.  The colors are breathtaking.  I see green, brown, tan, pink, red…and three yellow tractors.

They came this morning.  First the cars showed up, then the tractors and then the workers.  They came with papers that looked like plans.  The men crouched on the ground and spread the land’s doom over the green.  Then they walked over the red poppies, pointing at different spots.  Then they started up the tractors.  Then they dug up the poppies…and the grass…and all I can see now is the underside of the earth that has spent the past month drinking water and preparing it’s roots for growth.

And I feel violated.

My sister looks out and remembers coming home from school one day to find my mother at the window, camera in hand, wailing in disappointment as the tractors tore down the trees and ripped apart the little yellow house that stood for individuality.  Now, my little girl cries that no one can live on our mountains.  I sip my coffee and think of the hikes we planned and how we wanted to pitch a tent in the field and have a picnic.

The yellow tractors dig and dig and I turn my back on them, enter the home I have only recently settled into, and dream of a little yellow house surrounded by almond trees and poppy blossoms on a mountain top overlooking a bright blue sea.

A dream…a wishful thought…or maybe…a tiny spark of hope.