Sarah Tuttle-Singer
A Mermaid in Jerusalem

In search of audacious, hot pink, wild beauty in Jerusalem

On Shabbat, I climbed a little hill in search of a little beauty. Audacious, pink, wild beauty.

A friend told me there was a rare patch of wild hot pink tulips growing in the weeds, and I wanted to see for myself.

It’s been a hard week – it feels fatuous AF to tell you all that I’m not doing so well these days – given the fact that, well, duh – no one is doing well and at least I’m physically safe right now, so maybe I should just STFU and be grateful (which, believe you me, I am) … but if you know me by now and Shutting the F Up isn’t how I roll, so hi! I am not doing well these days. My anxiety is HIGH… I am forgetful, I don’t remember faces or nouns or how to act like a member of polite society (I literally started meowing in public a few days ago during a particularly stressful wait in line at the supermarket)… and i could really use a hug or a stiff martini (very dry, very cold, very neat, and wave it at Italy!)

But no hug or martini, and it’s just me and my jagged bones poking through my skin, and it IS A LOT, but relatively speaking I shouldn’t complain except I’m Jewish and it’s coded in my DNA to complain — or at least wrestle and struggle and try to fix what is broken.

And that’s the thing: I can’t fix anything in our broken world right now. I can’t fix the grief of all of us in Israel or fix the staggering death toll in Gaza or free the hostages or comfort the ones who are wailing over open graves. I can’t fix a damn thing including my own struggle over this and so I’m just here wringing my hands. But I did decide to go look for the wild tulips because I could use a little hope. Or at least a little insouciance.

But the time of blooming is ending here in Jerusalem.

The anemones have already dried up, and the sprinkles of purple and yellow  blossoms that dotted hillside  have mostly blown away… the waves of royal blue lupine are receding, leaving only a rocky dry sea bottom, and the snow white almond blossoms have melted into green.

And still, my friend said   there were supposed to be tulips so I went searching.

I found rocks, and weeds, and a cheerful spider making his way over the edge of what was once a mighty wall… but no tulips.

Just a little disappointment — not huge in the scheme of things given the state of the world now… but a blow for me since I really needed to see the  tulips. I needed them more than I had realized and I felt defeated. I needed a shock of pink, wild beauty.

And as I was walking back down, I saw a man with a cumulus cloud of soft white hair sitting on the ground.

He was bent down, hunched over — so I went over to make sure he wasn’t injured or in distress.

“Are you ok?” I asked.

“Of course!” He said. “I’m just taking pictures of the tulips!”

“Oh! You found them! You found them!” I said “I’m so glad you found them!”

He shrugged. “They’re here in the same spot every year ar this time. Just this little patch. So I came to look. I needed to see they returned after October 7. I needed a little hope today.”

He smiled, took a few more pictures and got up.

“Your turn,” he said. “Enjoy them. Tell others.”

So I am. I’m telling you. I want you to know that with all the awfulness in the world — even amidst the destruction and death that threatens to swallow us and sometimes almost does — there are still these audacious, hot pink wild tulips growing on this little hill in Jerusalem — and they bloom every year for us to find.


About the Author
Sarah Tuttle-Singer is the author of Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered and the New Media Editor at Times of Israel. She was raised in Venice Beach, California on Yiddish lullabies and Civil Rights anthems, and she now lives in Jerusalem with her 3 kids where she climbs roofs, explores cisterns, opens secret doors, talks to strangers, and writes stories about people — especially taxi drivers. Sarah also speaks before audiences left, right, and center through the Jewish Speakers Bureau, asking them to wrestle with important questions while celebrating their willingness to do so. She loves whisky and tacos and chocolate chip cookies and old maps and foreign coins and discovering new ideas from different perspectives. Sarah is a work in progress.