The Monster (Hebrew: Mifletzet) sculpted in 1971 by French artist Niki de Saint Phalle, is a well-known landmark in Jerusalem and one that is enjoyed by children, who love to slide down its three-pronged tongue.

The Monster

The Monster

Usually.

When I walked past it, yesterday evening, it looked different – a bit sad and funny.

MonsterClosedReducedI posted the picture on Instagram with the caption: What have they done to the monster? And to the English language?

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I have a feeling not many people know about our local library. It takes up a large room in the community centre and is not well-advertised. I discovered it via an article in a local newspaper.

Yesterday, the temperature a little too high for comfort but bearable,  I followed my usual path to it, along a little road, across a main road, along a footpath, and past the Monster. Inside the building, I continued round two corners to the stairs, which I climbed to reach the quiet place. It’s hard to get away from noise in this country. This is one place where you can – on Tuesday mornings, anyway.

The library is small but well-stocked. There is even an English section and I always find something in it to interest me.

This time, I chose Barack Obama’s memoir, Dreams from my Father. My choice has nothing to do with my political views. I chose the book because I wanted to know where he came from, to read about the issues he encountered and to read something “Thoughtful, moving and brilliantly written” (The Times). I haven’t been disappointed with it yet.

The library is free. You leave a hundred-shekel cheque with them for each book you want to take out in one go. I decided one at a time is enough. Going to the library gives me an excuse for a walk, and I do read many other books.

On the way back, I stopped in a small park to read the preface – not the park with the Monster, where children on holiday were scrambling all over it and running around, but a quieter one off the path.

Walking along the road, I remembered I needed to look around more in order to have something to write on the blog, so I stopped where there is a lovely view of the Jerusalem Forest. The other day, I saw an amazing sunset from this place. Sunsets are fast here, and in a minute or two, the deep red ball disappeared behind the horizon. Turning back, I noticed the wall of a block of flats decorated with different-coloured flowers. I’ve walked past this place so many times, looking without seeing.

Flowers decorate block of flats (the real thing looks much better)

 

When you look back and think of all the sights that have changed, all the things that have happened, it’s comforting to see something that has remained the same. The monster has seen it all.