I’ve been having a dream.
The blond woman steps out of one of the mud domes of the Lotan eco-volunteers. The northern wind blows through her hair that is so tousled as nobody has seen before on TV or on the Internet. She has a coffee mug in her hand. She closes the door of the colorful mud dome that has been her home in the past two weeks. She breathes in the aroma of the coffee and watches the sky. The sun has not risen above the Jordan mountains yet. The blond woman wears shorts and a T-shirt. She is barefoot. When she arrived to the Arava two weeks ago, she had no idea that she would spend the majority of her time without shoes.
If somebody took a passing glance at her now, they would think of her as an early rising kibbutznik. A hard-working woman in the Arava who, before her working day starts, would first inhale the intense energy of the desert. If somebody took a passing glance at her now, they wouldn’t think she was the one who wrote the Harry Potter-books.
This is JK Rowling’s last morning on Kibbutz Lotan. She wants to take a last walk before she flies back to Civilization at noon. Her nose is red from early morning air. She sniffs. She takes a sip of hot kafe shakhor. When she arrived to the Arava two weeks ago, she would never have thought there existed the kind of freedom and peace she has experienced here in the desert.
She came here to finish her latest book about which she had simply said before that it was going to be her most personal story. She wanted to finish this book here, because she needed two things that she couldn’t find in Scotland. On the one hand, the serene calm of the desert. On the other hand, the kind of Divine Inspiration no human being on Earth can get closer to in a geographical sense.
Two hours and a walk later, JK Rowling steps out of her mud dome in her city clothes. A small group of kibbutzniks is waiting for her on the lawn. There are very few of them, because just as her arrival, also her departure is a closely held secret. Not even the successor of Bibi received permission for a photo op. Only the people of Arava have had the chance to have contact with the famous writer.
The farewell committee stands next to the entrance of the mud dome. Touched and chaotic, just as if they were in a Milos Forman or Federico Fellini movie. In the middle of the first row Khanan smiles, the head of council, next to him, on one side, Karen, librarian of the council school, on the other side, Eylon, manager of Kibbutz Lotan, next to him Tamar, who was the host of JK Rowling for the last two weeks, next to Karen, Iris from the council. In the second row stand all those kibbutzniks that enjoy a little time off during their working day, to say good-byes.
Joanne steps out of the dome, and as she sees all the people, a wide smile spreads over her face. Finding her way gingerly in the sand in her high heels, she goes up to the little gathering and hugs everybody. She can hardly say thank you for the amazing two weeks when a black Land Rover with tinted windows arrives to the mud dome. A man in dark suit and dark sunglasses gets out of the car. He opens the door for Ms Rowling, places her luggage in the trunk, closes the door after Ms Rowling got in the car, then he gets in the driver seat, starts the car and they drive away.
So, that was it… The attention of the kibbutzniks turns from the departing car to the untouched breakfast table that had been set for a farewell meal. They look at each other then start to eat with gusto at the gala buffet. After a couple minutes they are enthusiastically talking about how great it is going to be when, in three weeks, David Grossmann himself arrives to the Arava! Because however fantastic it was that JK Rowling spent time here, David Grossmann is an even greater star!
I’ve been having this dream about a desert haven for creative people for almost a year now. When at the end of 2016, I arrived to the Arava as an ole hadash from Budapest, I found the desert peaceful and inspiring at the same time. I found it a magical place where I can hear the quiet voice of my soul. Where I can tell my story the most honest and simple way. A breathtaking place where I am always inspired to create.
Since then I keep wanting to share this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this Arava with fellow creative artists. With writers, bloggers, vloggers, journalists, filmmakers, television and stage people, and all kinds of creative industry professionals. I want them to come here and become part of this peaceful and inspiring environment for a week, a month or more. I want them to look at the World through the golden curtain of the desert sand – and then tell their unique stories in the most honest and simple way.