Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Strange things you see in the forest

I love that I live in a country where there is such a love of nature. People regularly take advantage of our parks and forests and deserts to go walking, biking, camping and hiking. Every time Maimo and I go walking through the forest, we run into someone biking, picnicking, horseback riding, touring the sites. We frequently even run into people davening (praying). And sometimes, even dancing.

The downside to all this love and appreciation is that the concept of "pack it out" has not reached Israel. Every day, I see enough broken bottles to start my own stained glass window company. Back when JNF had a dumpster in the picnic area where we park, I used to pick up the glass (filling my fannypack!) and dump it before we left. Now that the dumpster is gone, I do my best to drive it into the dirt so there won't be any cut doggy feet or sliced tires. Aside from glass bottles, we have seen plastic 2-litre bottles, foil roasting pans, styrofoam packaging, and even the little hibachi-style grills. Apparently they are cheap enough to just leave behind. Occasionally, we see a neatly packed bag of garbage. Which of course, doesn't stay neatly packed for long, once the animals get into it.

Today, we even saw rolled up diapers, next to a bag of garbage, which was not far from plastic plates and cups strewn about, as if waiting for their guests to sit down and fill them. Not all of it is waste, though; someone once left a case of tetrapaks of non-pasteurized milk - the kind that doesn't need to be refrigerated until you open it. I guess they didn't need it all, and left it for the next campers.

All this is mostly outweighed by the beauty of being part of a people who love their outdoor spaces (if not cleaning them); of seeing a religious man in the middle of group of trees, davening out loud so the only sounds you hear are the birds and his voice, followed a little while later by a group of men dancing and singing in the forest for the sheer love of Hashem.

I get it. Being in the forest makes people happy. It makes me want to dance. But then Maimo looks at me funny.

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