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Friday, December 26, 2003

Reflecting on Terraces

Nearly every day I adhere to a predictable morning routine:

First, I put up the water to boil, and grind some coffee beans. Then I set out the kid’s breakfast (on these chilly mornings, they usually get oatmeal with raisins, cream and a little honey), and a place setting for Zahava. Once the breakfast table is laid out and the coffee is steeping in the press, I go upstairs to wake the ‘big’ kids.

While Ari and Gili wash up and get dressed for school, I pour myself a soup-bowl sized cup of coffee, mix in some fresh cream, and wander out onto the back porch.

Even on these chilly mornings, I can’t help going out onto the porch…the view is just spectacular. We live on the slope of a hill, overlooking a small valley (wadi, in the local lexicon), and the Judean Hills. With the exception of two small communities in the distance, much of the land within my view consists of vineyards...and all areas, whether under cultivation or not, have been terraced.

What fascinates me about these terraces is how ad-hoc they seem to be. There is no order to the level or size of each terrace. It appears that wherever a little topsoil remained on the hillside…somebody threw up a stone retaining wall below to catch whatever could be salvaged.

This manifestation of the ad-hoc race to hold onto things seems to nicely sum up the human condition - at least as it appears reflected in my morning coffee.

Posted by David Bogner on December 26, 2003 | Permalink


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