Thursday, May 1, 2008

Blessing on Flowering fruit trees.

Pomegranate blossom. This photo by A. Atwood, was taken last season.

Weather: today's range: Just over 9 degrees C -just over 17 degrees C.
When we went out at about 6.20 p.m. it was about 14 degrees C again, ~ 67% humidity, wind W to NW, 6-9 kt, pretty much same conditions as yesterday. Skies clear.

Today I was determined to make the blessing on flowering fruit trees. It's a custom to do this in the Hebrew month of Nissan and to have in view at least two flowering trees while making the blessing. The two pomegranate trees by the cistern are both in gorgeous orange/red flower now so they were perfect. The pomegranate is also one of the seven species of Israel mentioned in the Bible as plants with which Israel is particularly blessed, and so has special status. (The others are wheat, barley, figs, grapes, olives and dates)

A rough English translation of the blessing:
'Blessed are You, our Lord, our God, sovereign of the world who denies His world nothing and has created good animals and good trees that mankind may enjoy'

This could easily misunderstood as selfishness re the world's resources but is really an expression of gratitude and celebration of life. Also, just as we may enjoy the world's wealth we are responsible to ensure its future in terms of preserving the biodiversity we have, minimizing and reversing pollution etcetera. This all necessarily follows from this gratitude and appreciation. It's also touching that my timing of this blessing coincides with the pagan celebration of May Day which is also an acknowledgment of bounty and fertility in this world. Thus two paradigms find commonality and discover we're not so different.

What else today? Approximately 40 common bee-eaters in flight, hawking for insects over gazelle field, their wings silvered in the light of the late afternoon sun. There were two groups which merged together.

Collared doves were also active, cooing and courting. Syrian woodpecker calls, jackdaw calls over in east field, hooded crows about as usual, Eurasian Jays active, some great tit calls, much greenfinch singing, 'chawing' and twittering in the pines, feral pigeons active, white spectacled bulbuls up before dawn calling musically in the Bauhinia tree and sunbirds active in the cape honeysuckle.
A beautiful spiny member of the pea family, blooming now on much of gazelle field. Likely one of the restharrows, Ononis spinosa or similar

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