Let your loving kindness and your truth continually preserve me (Psalms 40:11).
Protecting the Red (Wildflower)
Although I can’t remember the first time someone told me as a new immigrant, still EVERYONE in Israel knows, you are forbidden to pick wildflowers, especially the bright red poppy anemones. Israelis are completely infatuated with the cheerful red flowers that appear all over the landscape just before spring.
A national Israeli advertising campaign said: “Go out in nature, but don’t pick (the flowers)!” – “Tse l’Nof, al tiktof.” Ironically, many Israelis will toss their trash anywhere they happen to be, but they will NOT pick the wildflowers.
I love the red Calaniot, which is their name in Hebrew. They spread a message of hope and encouragement after the dry hot summers, impossibly short autumns, and wet winters. They grow in the small forest near our house. Towards the end of winter I often escape for a few minutes to the forest – either with or without some of my kids – to wash my eyes with green and the occasional pop of red spotting the forest floor. There are also white and light purple Cyclamens and various yellow wildflowers. But, the red poppies are the queens, the visual prize, the dash of color that makes the rest of the landscape look adorned.
Calanit is also the name of the girl who befriended me when I was in basic training in the IDF in the fall of 1993. She was patient and sweet and strong and helped me through two and half weeks that could otherwise have been miserable. You regular readers may remember that our eldest daughter just went into the army, and we are proud to update that she made it successfully through basic training and is now in a navy technical course. She also made some good friends in her first few weeks, and the camaraderie she’s feeling is a huge asset and a wonderful by-product of the army experience here. And so it goes, the Israeli army swiftly transforms spoiled teenagers into serious, equipped and trained young adults who do the lion’s share of watching, protecting and fighting so that Israel can maintain her freedom and security.
It’s no wonder and no coincidence that the Calanit was chosen as our national flower and is protected by law. It symbolizes renewal, preservation, persistence, beauty, boldness and life!
Protected by the Red (Blood of the Lamb)
As a community this year, we just packed 900 Passover food bags to give out to the needy. The Deputy Mayor came to visit us while we were working and commended and blessed us, saying he is proud to be part of a city where such an organization serves.
We pray for him and for our city, and we are excited to be celebrating Passover with family, unlike last year when we had to celebrate alone, confined to lock-down restrictions. In pondering the Passover/Exodus story, we find a poignant correlation between the bright red of the Calaniot and the red blood of the lamb on the doorposts protecting the people from judgment.
May this Spring, Passover and Easter season bring you the joy and cheer of renewed vitality and may God preserve you and bring you into the next season of your life!