A Year of Olives

by Sarah on November 5, 2010

olive tree

The Mediterranean scrub brush has turned from exotic to home.

When did this happen?

I recognize the smell of the pungent flowering of the carob tree and the dusty aromatics, barely alive.  Autumn still carries the muted colors of summer, a faded postcard forgotten in the sun. Another year has passed, and the olives have turned from green, purple and black, boughs heavy and tired. Soon the rains will come and the recycle will begin again.

olive trees in israel

It is strange how time and repetition can transform the insignificant into an integral part of life, melding the past into a coherent stream that flows into the future. It occurs imperceptibly, little rituals and habits that begin to take shape and slowly distinguish themselves with their timelessness.


This landscape, dotted with figs, pomegranates and olive trees, is biblical scenery a tour guide might say. But for me, it is the land of memories, intertwined with daily life.

olive flowers

Here olives trees are ubiquitous, an agricultural tradition and necessity from antiquity but also commonly grown along roadsides and parks. I see how the spring brings tiny blossoms that eventually settle on the ground like snowflakes. As summer progresses, the fruits grow and transform until once again, it is time to gather them for their golden oil or to cure as table olives.

It is a long way from New York where I recognized olives as another supermarket item, just more sophisticated in their stylishly designed jars. Olive trees are part of a land I have come to love, and where I have also grown roots. Are these feelings for a land any less significant or real because it was formed within one lifetime, belonging to a single person? Does it diminish its realness or importance?

Sometimes I look around at my surroundings and realize that after all these years, I can call it home.

olive trees in rain

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Hannah @Cooking Manager November 5, 2010 at 2:27 am

Lovely photos. Thank you for sharing. Shabbat shalom.


zahavah November 5, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Sarah –

Not only are your pictures getting lovelier and lovelier, but your prose this time reads like poetry. I can tell how much you love your “new” home and how food enhances this love. I can’t wait to visit again (!).



Alessandra November 5, 2010 at 10:39 pm

Beautiful pictures, I miss trees like these.



Tanvi November 6, 2010 at 12:39 am

I never saw olive trees…its soo beautiful!The ripe fruits look exotic


michal moreo November 7, 2010 at 1:27 am

Very nice post. I added it on bustan eshtaol facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/egarden.co.il , as well as twitter
and i’m sure my followers will enjoy it!


Sarah November 7, 2010 at 1:31 am

thanks michal! what’s your twitter name?


OysterCulture November 7, 2010 at 2:46 pm

I have olives brining in my fridge, I’ve been so inspired this year and got my act together, I was inspired last year too, right after the season ended unfortunately. What beautiful photos.


Sarah November 7, 2010 at 9:53 pm

I hope you olives come out great!


Faye Levy November 7, 2010 at 8:04 pm

I second Zehava – Gayle’s comment – Your writing is poetic in this piece, and the photographs are wonderful. Thanks!


Sarah November 7, 2010 at 9:55 pm

thank you!


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