Sari Ellen

Paradise or Desert?

Yom Kippur 5777 in Tel Aviv. Streets emptied of cars, buses, motorbikes, scooters and trucks. Instead there were kids on rollerblades and bikes, people playing with their dogs, couples pushing strollers through a rapturous quiet.

I walked in the bus lane, smelling the fragrance of flowers in the street medians, hearing birds sing, buffeted by winds that had blown from Egypt to the West Bank to Israel, and which would soon fill Jordan and beyond.

I walked the three miles from my home to the beach. I no longer needed GPS or directions — I knew the way. As I made it through this holiest of days, I tried to let go of my burdens. The heavy rock of blaming others. The sharp-edged rock of inner blame.
I reached Gordon beach before sunset. The shushing Mediterranean looked like lead sheathed in bright. The tumbling surf was refreshing and cool. In the west, as I watched, the bonfire sun shrank to a tiny dot and then sank out of sight. The nearly-full moon already shone in the east.

The Jewish New Year, ten days ago, celebrated the anniversary of the creation of human life, Adam and Eve, who were supposedly given paradise. Their descendants, Cain and Abel, were in murderous competition and had to try to survive in a desert.

So what’ll it be world? Paradise or desert?

img_6712 img_6716 img_6724 img_6731 img_6729

Even in the dark, walking the three miles back home, I no longer felt lost.

About the Author
Sari Ellen's writing appears in the New York Times, Beloit Fiction Journal, Blue Lake Review, So It Goes, Satirist, Daily Freier, Ilanot Review, Huffpo Canada and in other webzines and journals. The first chapter of her (not yet published) novel is in the November 2020 "Woven Tale Press."