Winter rains are giving way to early morning sunshine, bringing forth a burst of color here in the northern Negev. The hills are carpeted with emerald grasses, munched daily by the flocks of sheep and goats who wander past our wadi with their young Bedouin shepherds. So many different kinds of flowers, all of them bright and beautiful, that I hardly know where to look first. It won't last long, however. In scarcely six more weeks, the spiky purple thistle will be dried up and brown -- just in time for the savvy desert dweller to pry it open and enjoy the edible kernel that rests within. Another secret taught to me by the children in the Bedouin village of Deragot.
A short green shrub is now out in full bloom as well; roll its small leaves between your fingers and the oily substance suddenly sends the scent of camphor into your lungs, clearing them of any congestion. It's a great remedy for colds, flu and bronchitis, especially if you make it into a tea (which I did as an experiment).
The wild chamomile is there too. In fact, you don't really need to be hungry in the desert; you just need to know where to find the food.