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Breakfast among orange trees, spider plants and basil surrounded by a hedge that, as though inspired by Jacob’s Ladder, seems to be reaching toward heaven.

Thousands of years go, in the desert area now known as Beer Sheva, the ancient patriarch known as Jacob used a stone for a pillow, fell asleep, and saw the angels traveling back and forth from heaven to earth on a ladder.

In actuality, the hedge before me camouflages the cement box of the building beyond, which, like most of the buildings in Tel Aviv, is filthy, worn, patched, utilitarian and precious as a cherished “schmata” one can’t throw away.

Nearby, rust-colored pigeons peck for crumbs. Straw-colored weeds cover stones.The roar of a plane makes me glance upward fast, ready to run (I was in Israel during Operation Protective Edge), but Tel Aviv isn’t being targeted today. I’m looking at the belly of a plane used by tourists, not war.

At this moment, the long shadows of morning find me in a haven, the Lily & Bloom Hotel, where I’m going over my novel manuscript before my fantastic agent (thank you thank you thank you universe for her, for my friends, for good will, for peace, for life, for getting me this far) presents it to potential publishers.

I still don’t have an Israeli rental, but I paused the seemingly-fruitless search in order to finish my work. I’m fueled by coffee so strong it could shave a beard. How amazing and unlikely it is for any of us to be here. I feel like angels are still traveling that ladder.