Hidden Paradise of Ein Dara

By Bassam Almohor – 26.5.2014

Today, I walk alone. I needed a timeout, a time for my macro photography and myself only. Today, I decided to accompany insects. It’s springtime, the variety of colors these little creatures reflect are breathtaking. Today, I want to see a different world. I put on my rucksack full of necessary stuff for the journey and head to Ein Dara (32.014583°N, 35.173535°E), around 20 km north of Ramallah.  Ein Dara is a beautiful spring, located in the bottom of the Ein Dara Valley, a lush evergreen habitat where water flows almost all year long. There, I take my freedom to roam all around the small pieces of cultivated land, I know the farmers, and one of them was my classmate at Birzeit University, Abed.

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Ein Dara is beautiful, peaceful, natural, and clean spring. Farmers here plant only organic vegetables: beans, lettuce, aubergine, zucchini, pepper, tomato, cabbage, and cauliflower. They have also citrus trees: lemon, orange, clementine, grapefruits, and even pomelo… and lots of pomegranate and grapes. The water is running, and available, but not for so long, human invasion is closing in. On the top of the northern hill, a new city is being built, a city that will house tens of thousands of Palestinians, the Palestinians’ pride Rawabi. On the southern hill, a Jewish settlement, Ateret, is already established since 1981, occupying the entire hill above it. I walk alone, ignoring the reality above me, trying to hunt insects, and photograph wild flowers.

I am no expert in flora, I appreciate colors, thorns, leaves, and smell of all this beauty around me, the holy thistle with its purple flowers, or the cyclamen, that lovely flower that endlessly and shyly looking down, living inside pockets of soil in rocks, or in olive trees trunks. I smell the sage all over the place, with its light green color, and the orchids, a variety of them all around me. I sit on my knees, camera in hand and appreciating this beauty of all these plants, this vivid pink color of the orchid. A short-lived flower that you do not want to miss. It only lives between February and April. On the other side of the valley I spot some iris. Today I am lucky! I shoot one photo after the other, close-ups and more close-ups. I get too close I feel like penetrating their colors. I feel like I want to see through them.

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The buzzing sound of insects around me is like music. It is the symphony of nature, never ending sounds of grasshoppers scratching their legs, the buzzing sounds of bees, wasps, beetles, butterflies, and much more. Birds and lots of them. I hear a jay screaming, I spot a tiny flycatcher, a lovely voice of a goldfinch, and in the distance, I hear a spectacled bulbul.

I reach to the spring; it’s quiet today, no dust, and no trucks coming down to pump the water for the busy construction uphill. I hear Abed calling me for tea. Today, he is planting zucchini, potato and some beans; no fertilizers, no hormones, no pesticides, no genetically modified (GM) food here, the seeds he saves from last year’s crops, home saved for the next crop. Every summer I come down to his plantation and pick as much as I want, the taste of his veggies is delicious.

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“Abed, you live in paradise,” I say with a true nostalgic voice. Abed sighs, stays silent, nods his head, and looks to the distance as if I posed a physics question. He turned his head away, looks down to the ground, sips his tea and finally utters, “not for so long, dear, not for so long.”

May 26, 2014

Ramallah

Read it in Hebrew here

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One thought on “Hidden Paradise of Ein Dara

  1. من المقالات الجميله التي جذبتني، واود التواصل مع الكاتب بشكل مباشر، هل من عنوان او هاتف للكاتب؟

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