Good Friday in Jerusalem…..Nature Bearing Witness

– Posted in: Garden Adventures

Today is one of the holiest and busiest day’s in Jerusalem. Christian Pilgrims from around the world converge on the Christian section of the Old City to stop at the 14 stations of the cross and to follow the Via Dolorosa. The route ends at the ancient Church of the Holy Sepulcher, believed to be the site of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and his resurrection two days later on Easter Sunday.

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This year, the Easter celebrations of the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches coincide while Jews from throughout the world are celebrating the Passover holidays. From all parts of the globe, Jews come to the Wailing Wall to pray and touch the Wailing Wall. Muslims gather to say their weekly Friday prayers. Their chanting from within the walls of the magnificent Dome of the Rock reverberates throughout the hills of Jerusalem.

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Three religions come together in one of the most sacred and historical places in the world; each for their own religious reason… in peace.

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What strikes me as much as the diversity of the individuals is the presence of nature; it cushions the structures and people and bears witness, year after year to one of the holiest days of the year. It is an enduring presence.

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Chicago is known as the ‘City In The Garden’. I don’t quite know the appropriate name for nature’s relationship and Jerusalem. But it’s floating around. Feel free to offer up one.

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Photos above taken yesterday in the Old City. I was unable to take any in the Christian section because of the massive throngs of people.

Photos below were taken on the streets of Jerusalem.

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Fran Sorin

Fran is the author of the highly-acclaimed book, Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening, which Andrew Weil, M.D., recommends as "a profound and inspiring book."  

A graduate of the University of Chicago with Honors in Psychology, she is also a gardening and creativity expert, coach, inspirational speaker, CBS radio news gardening correspondent, and Huffington Post Contributor.

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Fran Sorin
4 Comments… add one

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Darla April 22, 2011, 6:47 am

I can only imagine the what it must be like to be here today….must do something special to the heart.

Hi Darla,
It sure did. Am going to try to get back tomorrow for Easter Sunday. It should be magnificent. Fran

Debra Lee Baldwin April 23, 2011, 1:58 pm

This is fascinating, Fran. You captured how the spiritual aspect of the city is tangible. And I love the way so many flowering plants in this holiest of cities are similar to those here in Southern California!

The flowering plants in Jerusalem are extraordinary. When I saw delphiniums blooming in the front of the King David Hotel, I almost let out a screech. The difference between the plant life in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is night and day; although there is only a 45 mile stretch between them. Jerusalem horticulturally is a rising star. What they are doing there with the public park system is fantastic; thanks to the Deputy Mayor who is in charge of all environmental and greening issues.

When I go to the fellow from whom I buy perennials (who happened to attend NYBG’s Hort. Program), he always qualifies with ‘This plant can be grown in Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv’. One out of four of his plants are able to survive in Tel Aviv. Beyond the dry, incredibly hot and humid climate in T.A., gardeners always talk about something in the air and the soil; they remind me that we are in the Mid-East, not California. Something about the winds from Africa gets in the conversation too.

That’s one of the things that’s so fascinating about this little country. You can travel an hour north and be in the hills of the Galilee and travel 1-2 hours south and hit the desert. Fran

Donna April 27, 2011, 10:03 pm

Fran, I really enjoyed this tour. It looks like a remarkable place in so many ways. I am intrigued by the architecture and the tightly constructed housing. I can not imagine living in this dense a populated area, let alone the intense historical and religious significance of this place.

Jerusalem is one of a kind; absolutely breathtaking. Actually what you saw in the photos was a small sampling of the housing in Jerusalem. Most of the photos were taken in the Old City which is enclosed, tightly constructed and a world unto itself. Jerusalem proper has absolutely stunning residents…several in airy settings. Parts of the city are wide open and spiraling. But I am always happy to return to Tel Aviv after a day in Jerusalem. The energy in Tel Aviv is light, active and international. It’s hard to believe that these 2 cities are only 40 some miles apart. Fran

Anne April 30, 2011, 8:02 am

Thanks for sharing this experience…I went to the Holy Land last year in May. It was a trip of a lifetime for me. You mentioned the relationship of nature to Jerusalem- what struck me was how nature brings us all together as one. I don’t know what I was expecting but I loved that I recognized plant material that grows in my home town, Pensacola, Fl. As a gardener, nature connected me to this holy place called Jerusalem in a powerful way.
Debra Lee’s response confirms my thoughts that nature connects all of us. She had the same experience of recognizing plants similar to her Southern California homeland as I did-and my home lies across the US from her!

How right you are that nature brings us all together…..if everyone could experience the power of it as you did in Jerusalem, the world would be even more magnificent.

Being in such a Holy City and seeing the same plant material as in your home town was no accident. What a wonderful reminder about embracing the ‘oneness’ of this universe….it sounds like you already have. When I return to the Old City, I will be thinking of you!

Thanks for your lovely note….it’s always heartwarming to meet a kindred soul. Fran

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