This is an image of Sheer Happiness. Where? I’m on the peak of Mt. Hermon, at the northeastern corner of the HOLYLAND/Israel. Mentioned in the Old Testament more than once, I am standing on an ageless mountain crest,. Behind me you see more of Mt. Hermon’s top, not 100 feet but many miles of mountaintop. Beyond that? Lebanon. A country once proud and prosperous, now overtaken by devilish Hezbollah.
That smile? It was June 2008. Frieda A”H Z”L had passed in January, after an almost 8 year struggle. The last year of her life I was her Caregiver. I cooked and did all, for Frieda, who until the onslaught of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, cooked, baked, cleaned, sewed, knit . . . did it all, in the European-Polish traditional manner. Our 4 children all excelled. We sat at graduations at America’s fine universities.
Me the street kid from Brooklyn (forget the glasses and such, I fought, much) who survived knives, guns and such, who graduated from OCS a newly minted artillery officer, Dean in a New York City High School who took guns, knives, chukka sticks, pipes from HS guys, had to watch helplessly as Frieda slowly weakened. Helplessly.
Frieda always told me to do what makes me Happy! She knew that photographing butterflies? I loved doing that!! She urged me to go and shoot, even when I was caregiving that last year. She’d say go, ‘Don’t worry about me.’ I went, and always rushed home after.
So here I am on this ancient G-d Loved mountaintop. Eran Banker, my guide took this pic. I am where I dreamed of, the peak of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the peak that Moses must have seen but never visited. We found, and I photographed many, many very rare butterflies. It was maybe 94F or 96F up there, desert-like, no wind . . . SPECTACULAR.
I was finally Happy again, I knew real Love, and it was as if She told me to be right there. To Smile. To Appreciate having survived poverty, the Streets, carrying long steel, and the Love of a Good Woman and to Reflect on being the Father of 4 Healthy, Happy capable children.
I surely must have been remembering Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Success.
This pic, for me? Priceless. A Thank G-d Moment.