One of the many steps along the way for me was when I visited Israel the first time (on a business trip), I went for a walk at night in Jerusalem and wound up at Gan Ha’Atzma’ut, Independence Park. I sat down on the low stone wall that surrounds the edge of the park, and just took everything in. (Yerushalayim Shel Zahav is a lie; the whole place is made of even.)
A thought came to me. I thought, “I feel like I could just turn into a tree, put down roots right here, and grow in peace.”*
When I met with the rabbi, I told him that story and he commented, “What an interesting image.”
* The etz boded (solitary tree) is a fairly common image in Israeli poetry, I have since observed.