Samantha Pearlman
A third-eye thinker living in the Holy Land

The Windows of the Past

"The Peace Kids" by John Kiss, an Israeli peace activist and street artist. Photo by Samantha Pearlman.

The buildings in this land are filled with windows to the past
stained in Tzfat,
crumbled in Lifta,
covered in Nablus.

Through these old windows many things can be seen:
Prayers within a synagogue that transported itself from Spain,
memories hidden within walls that barely exist,
a family resting together as the day comes to an end.

Windows sit within walls and breach the divide between the visible and the hidden, the public and the private, the connected and the isolated but they’re not always enough to separate danger from safety. Windows are only made of glass. 

Stones fly from high windows and are met by fire to be made molten. The ones who live in glass houses are taught to hurl them the hardest. We forget to remember that we are all vulnerable simply because we exist. 

Sometimes an alarm tells us that we need to be in a place with no windows.
At least for some, there is a place to go.

Windows arch underneath stones that tell stories of culture and conquest. Some windows are cracked and mended with cardboard while others reflect rainbow fractals back onto the ones who could stay.

Many dusty windows are waiting to be opened again.

It’s said that eyes are windows to the soul. I think of brown eyes shining in the Sea of Galilee during a friend’s first swim,
or the graffitied eyes around Jerusalem that look down on us while we hold on to hope with sometimes hardened hearts. 

On long walks, I notice unique windows.
I wonder about those who took deep breaths within their frames,
who peeked out in loneliness,
who ran to them with excitement,
who hid beneath them in fear. 

The windows of the Holy Land let in solace and sunlight for some, but not without sanctity and a lot of sacrifice. 

When it cools down we sit near windows and watch the rain pour on the ancient limestone of Jerusalem. 

The peeling windows of the past are also windows to the future, here, where the glass is like a mirror that shows what is still yet to come if only we can create it. 

When looking at the windows that hold the residual energy of the past,
it becomes even more clear that our window of opportunity for change is now.

About the Author
Samantha lives in Jerusalem and is very invested in learning from the different communities all around the Holy Land. Her goals include creating connections beyond borders, empowering others through education, and sharing stories through creative projects to promote social change.
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