There was this moment of transition the minute I entered the airport. Only a few moments earlier, I was in a cab shooting along the Israeli highway; the grainy hills flashed by, swirled in brown, green, and white like a strange sort of souffle. Haven't you ever noticed that Israel has the same green, brown, and white colors everywhere? Except in the Old City where it's all stone, that is.
What I love about Israeli scenery is that you can see for miles upon miles; little towns - or big ones - nestle in the hills and you can stand by the side of the road and say, pointing, "That's Efrat, that's Neve Daniel, that's Elazar." As the sky darkens for night, you can see little lights popping on, like fireflies, until the hills are glittering with this community and that, and you can watch it all from your little spot on the side of the road.
There's something liberating about standing on an Israeli hilltop and feeling like you can see the world. There are no tall, smoggy buildings to impede your vision. If you wanted to, you could just jump off your hilltop and land on the next one, and the next, and the next, as if you were playing hopscotch. Hopscotch across the land of Israel. Wouldn't that be funny?
Everyone in Israel could get up on their hilltops and wave to each other. That's what I like. And when everyone else is indoors, you could sit on your hilltop and just think. You could look out at your country and feel that it's yours, that it's ours. The whole world is yours, then: the azure sky, the brown, green, and white swirled hills, the trees that cleanse the air so directly you can smell it.
As soon as I stepped into the airport, I was no longer in that Israel. That Israel exists outside the windows, but not in here. Now I am sitting in Ben Gurion airport, about to leave to my gate. I think boarding just started. I have no idea when I'll be in Israel next, but I'll sure miss it.