Journal: and then the rains came

10/7
Today the rains came. Or, I suppose it would be more correct to day, in the very early hours of the morning, the rains came. I now live in a yurt with two other people. We were very thankful for the tarp we took the time to fling over our skylight window. There is nothing like people under 5’5″ trying to get a piece of plastic over a steep roof 15’+ up. Others, we heard, were not so lucky and woke up to a 3am rainfall in the middle of their home. The yurt, like any other tent, makes the rain sound so much louder and more intense than it really is.  Even so, when I woke up at 3, 4 and 5am I didn’t feel any inclination to get out of my nice warm bed to check. This was the first night I felt cold at night. On the upside, there were no biting insects.

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Fiction: excerpt from an impromptu writing class

Note: This poem is result of a skill-share creative writing class. The prompt was “first day of school”. During the writing of this piece the facilitators would shout out words that we were to incorporate into our stories/poems.

Eyes shiny & bright,
full of energy
& highly caffeinated,
your mom has tears in her eyes,
you are the baby,
flying the nest,
even though this is your second year away.

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a change in direction (a slight look back to the start of august)

Hostels are the best. Not only are they cheaper than hotels (usually), they also turn up in places that no developer would dare build a hotel without a turn over of the neighborhood. I am not trying to insinuate that this place was ugly or rundown (ok, maybe a bit rundown), but it is located next to a long strip of car garages. There was broken auto glass on the ground but this didn’t stop people from walking barefoot though.

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trusting strangers

I really enjoy travelling because I get the opportunity to walk outside my comfort zone. Opportunity, perhaps, is not the right word. I am dumped out of my comfort zone surrounded with life boats that don’t always speak English and I don’t always know how to utilize. But it works out, I learn to adapt and the greatest thing, I have to talk and put my trust in strangers. I learn to find those kind and helpful beings who take a moment out of their lives to help a traveler. I am forever thankful. As a child I don’t think I was ever told never to talk to strangers but somewhere along the line there was instilled in me this fear of doing so. Perhaps it came from reading so many books, or maybe movies. Half of the time “stranger danger” as portrayed in these types of media are a joke, I wonder how often this then translates into a subconscious fear. At home you are in familiar territory and you can rely completely on yourself. That is not as easy to do abroad. Travelling reminds you how to ask for help.

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Fiction: this is magic

 

Sometimes you have to make your own magic. Like when you find that perfect pomegranate and instead of squirreling it away you share it with the people around you. That look of simple satisfaction as they eat the purplish-red seeds, the quick pop and burst of flavor in their mouths and then the expression of satisfaction; this is magic. It is not the only kind.

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Western Wall

When you are sitting on a bed, propping your tablet on your knee, and hoping beyond hope that your Bluetooth keyboard won’t suddenly stop working, it is hard to think of deep-felt meaningful experiences. But as it is, this is where I am and what I have to work with.

I wish I could write about visiting the Western Wall while I was there, however, I feel as if I would receive many glares for working on a computer. I would do so if I did not fear someone may berate me because I love to sit and watch the world go by while I write, it makes the process so much smoother.

This was my second time at the Western Wall. I think I may have written briefly of my last experience there but for those who haven’t read it or I haven’t told you the tale I will briefly recap. It was right before Passover during spring 2014 when I found myself in front of this wall. I had heard of the Wailing Wall before but I had never really given it a thought; to me it was just some wall. As I approached this first time I had the sense that, to all these people visiting this ancient bit of wall hidden amongst the curves of this old and crooked part of the city,  it held a profound sense of both sadness and exultation. Unprepared for this type of energy I felt too dazed to really take in the full effect of what was going on here. It wasn’t until the urging of a friend that I wrote a letter and steeled myself to walk to the wall. Not a moment after I found a safe corner to tuck the piece of paper into and I laid my hand on these rocks that so many hands had worn smooth, an elderly lady in a wheelchair, thinning hair covered by a kerchief, elbowed me hard in the ribs as she wailed something unintelligible and moved herself into the spot I had previously occupied.
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what am I doing here?

This journey felt as if it would never come until I was in the airport hugging my parents goodbye. Even then it felt like I was standing in the line for security, dumping my water, taking out my tablet, etc…just for the heck of it and when that was done I was going to head out and eat dinner at an overpriced airport restaurant with my family. Even through security it still didn’t feel quite like I was going anywhere. I am supposed to be headed off to the valley (Pioneer Valley) to go to school soon, right? To top this off I ran into an old schoolmate from my days at Pine Hill; this was not yet the real world, as much as it tried and pretended to be. I talked and schmoozed with those around me until I made it onto my flight.
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as the season rolls along

As the warm season comes to a close I think of the desert and its variable weather. True, in the late spring/summer months it is very hot, dry and stiff. But at the start of the program the day might be hot but the nights were cool and refreshing. A day in March at the Arava Institute I would wear comfortable shorts in the daytime and switch to long pants and a sweater for the evening. By the end though, the weather had settled to be hot or hotter. It was quite a transition, though I never thought it would be as dramatic as the weather shift in New England. In the northeast, when the warmth of summer has left, it has really left and it is cold, to the bone, everyday. I find the shift quite comparable to that in the desert, just in the opposite direction, obviously.
 

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a love hate relationship with the heat

the dog days are not over,
the heat breaths
dragons breath
from prehistoric rock
remnants from a long dead ancestor
who is your cousin
but perhaps not mine;
you have the copper strain
& I have green,
perhaps I had more oxygen
and you had more fire.
the old,
who are drawn to fire
as water is drawn out by salt
have winds of a humid clime
& those who have stayed
in the dragons breath,
their puddles are drying,
& the green is hard to see
(but still there for those who look)
hidden but not lost under a crust
of copper & conglomerates.

there is something about shoes

A quick story about shoes and mud (that are unrelated)

The other morning a group of us woke up to take a hike. It was a nice morning, a little overcast with a breeze. There were clouds, small patches that drifted somewhat lethargically across a beautiful blue sky. It is almost intuitive to figure out direction here and the shape of the Arava Valley makes it even easier. The valley runs north to south and Jordan is to the west, Egypt to the east.

A note on myself: I won’t wear shoes unless I really have too.
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