It used to be that I was greeted by a warm orange glow every morning.
If I wasn’t running late, I’d take the time to appreciate the ribbed shadow of the blinds slowly creeping along my bare wall.
Sometimes the fog diffused the rays of light.
The dew down below would speckle.
My apartment is on the second floor and the trees here are short —
My view of the sky is clear and wide.
Every morning was a good one.
But the light, the warmth, and especially the breeze — I keep the window open year-round — were always such a tease.
Two years ago I woke up to the calmest of suns in the Gaza Strip.
Given the sounds of the drones and the zoo of animal noises outside, it’s a miracle I wasn’t woken any sooner.
It was the creep of the sun over the curve of the earth that woke me.
Those seven mornings were the best of my life.
On my wall hangs a photograph I was lucky to catch late one afternoon during my time in Palestine.
Although it isn’t of the sunrise itself, it shows the very same sun and the dense jungle of concrete buildings it illuminates.
I turned my bed to face it.
How sad is it, I was asked, that I turn to something so artificial.
So seemingly intangible.
Surely the memory of a Palestinian sun could not stand up to the physical rays of warmth produced by the sun just outside my window.
What about the orange glow?
What about the soft breeze?
What about the kitten on the sill watching over the stillness down below?
I decided to turn my back to the sun because good wasn’t good enough.
The motivation I need exists within that small framed photograph nailed to my wall.
I want each and every morning to begin as though I am staring into Gaza’s summer skies.
To begin my day with a mission rather than with a mere comfort does me well.
This is the place I would much rather be.
This is the place I hope to one day serve.
If there is one thing I appreciated most in Gaza, it was the sun and the ease with which it infiltrated the siege.
We will do the same.
Even the most restless of my family found it within themselves to appreciate the earnestness of the sun.
So now, the tall brown board at the head of my bed blocks much of the window.
I am an interior designer’s worst nightmare.
And to the space-efficiency people —
The pragmatists —
The natural light lovers —
Please accept my sincerest apologies.
If you ever get the chance to wake up in Palestine’s sunny embrace, this will all make sense.