Karl suggested this theme, as it is his philosophy that a photo should be kept simple for maximum effect. His blog, Bolzano Daily Photo, has stunning pictures of South Tyrol.
This hermitage in the Jerusalem Hills was built in the 1400s.
It was added on to a house and chapel built by the Crusaders in the 12th century.
From June to October 2006 this hermitage (more like a monastic cell), was my beloved dwelling place.
I had just returned to Israel after eleven years of volunteer work abroad, with my backpack and duffle bag and two boxes of stuff and that was about all.
The water faucet was just outside the door (near Lara the cat, z"l).
Steep steps led to a little building with a shower and toilet.
The simple wooden table was both desk and dinner table.
Afternoon sunshine streamed in.
In the evening families of jackals called back and forth across the Soreq Valley just below.
(Hear videos of their howls here.)
Olive trees, pines, and many other trees right outside in the woods.
Full of history and holy energy, each ancient stone in the walls and floor became my fast friend.
How very good it was to sleep and dream and to wake to a new dawn in my own land.
The hermitage was beautiful in its simplicity, and so was my life.
As the old Shaker song affirms,
'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,.
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.