life, and the future of life

so everything has changed.nature

the farm is what i expected, and more. ill try to paint some pictures for you.

it is separated into 2 groups. running the actual farm are israelis, mostly coming from kibbutzim or moshavim settlements from all over, doing a year of national service before the army, serious hippies who prefer to spend their time tending to our small herd of goats, roosters, and lone horse. one girl, shlomit, is somehow related to the late great shlomo carlebach. born in the golan heights, she comes from a family of 9 children and ran away from high school and has been living on the farm for 9 months. they are quiet folk, sabras who are eager to teach me the benefits of a vegetarian diet, israeli slang, how to cook cabbage and make lentil soup, “tea” steeped just with lemongrass, sage, and zatar (all from the farm), and build houses from mud, hay, and wood.

i am dirty here. very, very dirty. i live in a dome, 9 x 9, an acre away from the main house with the other group. 2 jews with a penchant for farming and living “the minimalist lifestyle” came to the farm, gave a presentation, set up a few dome homes, and started growing growing growing everything in season. yigal, the 26 year old, is a skinny, reclusive english lit grad from columbia…he misses shakespeare but has been living by himself in a dome for about a year. his partner is shoshana: talkative, happy, happy to farm, has been living in israel since 16. she created her own, private farm at 21, an accomplishment that makes me feel so small, even more aaron small, in comparison. the dedication and committment to a lifestyle, a vision, and a way of life that these israelite Thoreaus breathe is stuff you only read about in books {or eskimo blogs}.

in the domes we are without water, electricity, bathrooms. we’re up at 6, working from 7-12, cabbage till 1, work till sunset. thursday i hiked with gaia and carlebach about 10 minutes in our backyard and ran into a herd of 150 cows. gaia played her didgeredoo and i had a few staring contests with some of the longhorns. they won every time. we sat on a fantastic pine tree that i mean to climb next time we’re there.

so whats been running through the eskimos head? this struggle, this momentum has sprung forth, a clear distinction has become apparent, namely this question of reality. as i sit with the compost crew after dinner smoking a sage cigarette (all-natural and like everything else we eat, it’s from the farm) i ponder “what is the real world?” is it us? in here? at the farm? or is it with ‘them,’ out there? perhaps reality is exists subjectively, there being 6.7 billion realities in the world, never staying static, shifting perpetually in this circulating artery of time. but then, what feels more right, more real for me? its true…we are without internet, a bookstore, coffee, film festivals, and renoir…but we do have clean air, grass and earth as our floor, the trees as best friends, and the chance to play an integral role in nature, survival, and this cyclical system of life on earth.

“everthing comes back to the circle.”

im not making any calls yet, but its become even more apparent to me how humanity must seriously reconsider its priorities and objectives while on this earth. we are living with this self-destructive propensity to be content with the way things are, and have our grandchildren pay the price for our actions.

the question remains then, where to start?

im heading back to the farm tomorrow. ill be there for about 2 weeks. its also supposed to rain. come find me. i’ll be in the dome.

lightning strikes

lightningI count 7 one thousands. If my 6th grade science class doesn’t fail me, that means the storm is 7 miles away. I wonder if the Israelites count storm distances in miles or kilometers. Something to look up later.

It’s very pretty here..My aunts backyard of kumquat trees (maybe she steals those from the neighbors), astroturf floor, and wooden outdoor furniture set (perfect for my mom’s endless afternoon jasmine tea) is getting pounded by the rain. And just when my Israelite cousins adamantly reassure my brother and I: That’s it! winter ees ovehr! another flash flood hits central Israel. Rain is rain, water is just water. We spent a good 3 hours at CafeNeto, my brother’s favorite (and only) coffeeshop a few blocks away from my cousin’s house, where he made friends with Yael, an english speaking waitress.  We sketched eachother sketching eachother, and played with Maayan, our almost 5 year old cousin who would fare well in some sort of Baby Einstein contest. She’s hilarious, independent, likes making cat noises, and won’t let guys, inluding these 2 familial idols, come close to her unless she permits. She never hugs without reason. It’s frustrating when you want to eat her but she decides to draw abstract kites and cakes full of candies that taste like olives and marshmallows.

It’s farm time on Monday. “I need some extra clothes that’ll proabably get destroyed,” I told my aunt. My uncle gave up 2 sweaters and his old army sweatshirt, that’s superwarm and allegedly unwearable in the United States. Who cares? Is Border Control really EVER going to dig through someone’s luggage and confiscate a sweater?  Plus 2 are the pants from the shuk in Tel-Aviv.

Craziness, madness.  First of all, the market, in certain areas, smell. It’s a mixture of first-rain asphalt, crushed bananas, dusty antiques and piss. shukSecond, everyone shouts in the shuk. You might think that the watermelon and fake designer shirt vendors are shouting composed, meaningful sentences in the shuk but the truth is very different.  Here are some conversations I’ve picked up, and the real message.

“My brother! You son of a bitch! What are you eating for Shabbat?” (I’m bored here, I haven’t sold a scarf yet, how are you?

“Grapes! Three shekels for a kilo! They’re good for the digestive system and diarreah (I need to get rid of this stuff. It’s late in the day and my feet hurt. Oh also, I need to check my email)

“Everything is half off! Girls, girls get in! The good watches are in the back!” (More Americans from birthright. I can finally get rid of the stuff I bought on wholesale)

The farm, the farm, the farm.  Sometimes I feel like Indiana Jones in temple of doom, when asked by his friend during the middle of a plan what happens next, responds “I don’t know. I’m making this up as I go along.”

farm

I’m asking myself now: Does everything need a purpose? Sometimes it’s just instinct and gut that takes us there. We should try to listen to them more often. They know what they’re talking about. No concrete goals for this part yet, just that I’m excited to meditate and be alone, working, planting, building with mud. We’re bombarded with messages all day. I’m excited to turn them off.

And now the mantra I need to live life by!

Slow. Down.

butch and sundance, tel aviv, the farm

edahn and I were reunited on sunday after my return my tzfat. six foot two, built, destroyer of carbs and anything low-protein, at once everything and nothing, seeker of truth and expert rumikub player, partner in crime and fellow quest seeker in this city. we’ve bussed, gotten rides, never taxid to tel-aviv, yet the days we share never pass without profound adventure, mispronounced semitic words, and bad gas.

the 16th proved to be a day of introspection after a whirlwind of events the day before culminated into a sad, fast collapse of an eskimo partnership. its led me to believe that life, this book comprised chapters of indiscriminate lengths, sees many, many characters phase in and out…some recurring, others not. and how does the story go? well we are writing, we are writing, we are writing.

thrill found us, or maybe we found it, yet again today in modiin, a brand new city 20 minutes from jerusalem, that city of immobile tension, cold rock and labyrinthian layout. modiin, we saw from our uncles moshe’s car, is assumingly designed by architects from the communist era school, as the skyline is predominantly prisonlike, nauseatingly urban. nextdoor, among the rocks is chava v’adam, an ecological farm with all structures built from mud or recylced material, and where the urban eskimo will make his home starting sunday till whenever he leaves.

“Dude, I so want to live here. this place is awesome,” edahn retorts. he was helping one farmer carry mud and create the foundation for a wood burning over for shoshana’s tent, manager of the farm at just 22 years.

“this is our future city.” “it’s the way to enlightenment. i mean, it’s on the path to there, to bring it about.” “your hands are really dirty. we got to go. moishe is calling us. im glad you got to see this place.” “awesome.”

we are writing…we are writing…we are writing…we are writing…we are writing…

mystical cities and assholes

went on a short adventure to tzfat with will and lindsay, bussing down and spending the day visiting kabbalastic painters, who manage to somewhow sell mystical inspired contemporary artwork, had great shawarma in a lafa, sipped coke for the first time in months and had that familair sugar rush you hate but love, and got involved in a drum circle with a hasid named yaniv who builds jewish temple-era instruments.tzfat

tzfat is an eerie city. birthplace of kabbalah, home to many gravesites, hippie travellers, failed artists…but it’s great, intense, quiet at night, wringing this strange powerful aura of fervent, roots judaism that is truly intoxicating and dangerous dangerous. time stops in tzfat. when you’re there, it’s like nothing else matters besides you and your personal connection with god, which according to the kabbalists i met while there, is something we’ll never understand. and they left it at that. its all one and the same.

this place, this country, im beginning to understand fairly quickly, is so damn abrasive and pushy to an extent i’ve never experienced. new yorkers don’t bullshit; they tell it like it is and are going places, but they’re not assholes about it. it’s like everyone in israel is trying to get somewhere, trying to do something (even if it’s just sitting down drinking coffee with a friend, like true semites), and will beat anyone down in their way, whether or notthe innocent bystander is in their way. driving here is insane. my cousin ohad was explaining how patients in ambulances with life-threatening injuries don’t make it to hospitals because israelis don’t show right of way. maybe they should write AMBULANCE on the front and have flashing red lights on top. it’s really retarded.

the club last night was difficult to. chess bar was, i’m guessing, built originally by a moron, and went no further reconstruction. it’s narrow as hell, the bathrooms are in the back (i’ve never been in a place where the guys check themselves out longer than the girls) and more packed than the upper west side subway at rush hour. i accept it for what it is, but it’s kinda frustrating, mostly annoying.

the friday nights here are what i enjoy most, tho. everything shuts down and the entire country, if it were possible, breathes out all the panic and competition during the week for just a few hours.

then it starts again on sunday!

geshem geshem~hailing with hail in israel

wow wow weewah! i sit on my aunts minimalist yet still plush burgundy couch gypsy kings in my ear, hail outside watching an arabic film about corrupt politicians, everyone looks like saddam hussein (before he was hanged) shabbat has just started, life is beautiful among the grape leaves a drive to tel aviv to pick up hungarian cakes soon soon i build an entirely green city with my cousin’s simcity 4.0

where to start? bear with me. days separated by //

//slept about 40 minutes maximum on the flight over to ben gurion airport, sat next to ariel beery, sperjewblogger, researched green design companies from wired magazine, took notes for future job reference

sleep

// it’s raining. bussed to kiryat shemona and kfar gileadi, which are about 8 Km from the lebanon border, then starts the hail // paint bomb shelters with crew, lots of trippy mushrooms, stencils get discarded pretty quickly / b-ball with the kids, a 3 vs. 8 with one feminine looking kid named michael, nicknamed the “egoist” / security guard at nursery/elementary school metula, border town, insists on showing a group of us from where the katushya rockets fell. he takes us to playground, points across gates at hills about a mile away: “here is hizbollah. see? that’s the hizbollah base. the rockets fell here, and here, and they shot at us here. these are the bulletholes.”

 

rats
rats in the shelter, by shabot robot will

/ I ask the residents: ” what else could we do to help you in metula?” “your presence here is not something to be overlooked.” a broken woman in her mid forties responds. // i make friends with our security guard, evgeny, 23 year old guy who fought in special forces, spent 3 months in an ashram in india, doesn’t talk much but when he does he speaks truth! // more bomb shelter work: butterflies, camels and caravans, sunsets, genies, turtles, mario, animals from noah’s ark, more mushrooms // self discovery :: i am allergic to gluten. it gives me gas and hurts my stomach. // shabot39 volunteers saw down burnt trees, make room for clearing in park naftali / mahpach: social activists practice intentional community building in kiryat shemona. young adults, anticapitalists working around gov’t bueacracy to help citizens. i’m gonna look into volunteering for them in a few weeks / festival with hadag nachash, marissa, dancing, almost making it on stage, can’t find a drum, sleep for 4 hours // bus ride back, trains to here, to there, to herzliya, now it rains it rains it rains and i prepare / i got accepted into the green apprenticeship program, yay! its beautiful here. gray light and white thunder, falafel traffic, arabic videos, plans plans plans. patience is a virtue.

thanks for pics shabot