Hila Bar
Writer, translator, editor

The Road Down South

Photography: Hila Bar
Agriculture in the South of Israel (Hila Bar)

The road down south is long and dusty. It is a road where on either side, the parched fields stretch across the desert plains, like the long ago remains of coal embers that were left to writhe.

On the dry and sunburnt landscape, you can almost hear the bougainvillea shouting through the air, their cerise voices shrill and loud, unresigned and crude while all else surrenders to the harshness of the sun.

And so the fields remain deaf and dormant; and the land stays still.

It is a lovely road that leads to the south, with the brawny earth cramming dashes of emerald through its surface. The sabra bushes stretch their leaves towards the sky, showing off their succulence to the brightness of the day. And the evergreens stand, exhausted, yet all the while threatening to dull their shade to a silvery grey.

However, the hot, quiet road to the south has been known to get respite and when the wind blows, the land is stirred and the sand dances for joy in a cloud of dust.

And if you stop and listen carefully, you can hear the ghosts of the Pura and Shikma rivers snaking their way silently, delivering their offerings to the tortured bushes, that crouch, petrified, beneath the sun. They sit and wait for the eastern wind to redeem some form of life they still hold; for they are very much alive, and the desert is certainly full of life.  It is alive with contradictions; of beauty and barrenness; of stubborn earth and fountains of fertility; of a mood so quiet that it flows through your senses with disquiet.

And I drive onwards, my mind cleansed of yesterday’s thoughts, crossing the endless horizons until I reach my mirage.

About the Author
Hila Bar is known for her penetrating commentary on people and society, as well as her deep, insightful poetry and prose. She studied English and Hebrew language and literature at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and works as a translator and editor. Hila made Aliyah in 1996 and currently resides in Srigim, in the Ela Valley region of Israel. Hila can be reached through Facebook or via email -
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