so I head down to the arava valley desert tomorrow. 10 weeks of saturating sun, mud building, getting up at 6 am, awkward first encounters, snoring roommates, and the stillness of sand everywhere. with my white complexion I’m packing 2 jugs of spf 40 sunscreen, and a spare jug when those run out.
the urban eskimo’s ailments of recent days have kept me under self-imposed house arrest, allowing for massive amplication of preexisting moods of self introspection. it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact moment of epiphany, but if someone put a katushya next to my head, it’d be somewhere around today 2:30 in the afternoon, at cafe neto. those who know me well, and perhaps those who’ve received an on the surface understanding of the kid who left civilization, left work, left a job teaching jewish studies to an inspired group of children in the rich suburban bubble called Santa Barbara, fell hard for a girl and spent a weekend with her based on knowing her for a trite, passionate amount of hours, left normalcy, left a comfortable language, for what promised to be adventure, rebuilding areas savagely ripped apart by war, traveling throughout a hyper fantasized land, and living in the desert, turned out into something so entirely different, so beyond what I would have expected to happen, that that awareness has made everything truly worth it. I don’t need to tell you how everything turned out – history is being written and is written with every breath eye movement thought turn of the head and changing streetlight.
Before I left my bedroom in America I said “Goodbye!” and meant it with the confidence of a boy whose insides were being torn apart in 17 different directions by unseen futures exploding with adventure, that drug I’ve been addicted to since I can remember remembering. and this now-written tale of life as an israelite, I can say with assurance on the eve of my “program,” has fallen short of expectations, or perhaps was it I who erred by setting them too high? reconstruction was repainting, sometimes i miss the kids I teach, the romantic relationship dissolved as swiftly as it left the harbor, travel week became farm work, and the desert – there lies the vast desert – a few hours away.
but no tale ends with a sad ending. it’s against the rules, and my book is no different. my coming to terms with israel, this strange place which leaves me alienated as a true stranger in a land of strangers, a land whose culture and way of life I simply abhor yet at the same time accept, has slowed me down to an almost standstill, and it is with a heavy heart that I begin to declare that this journey of nomadic madness is coming around it final curve, the fruits of my wandering reaped and placed into a basket whose owner is slowly getting used to the ground and looking for a nice, soft, interesting place to touch down, for the landing is an adventure in and of itself.
this new desire to stay afloat, in one place at one time with one mind, and the death of my former self…it would be preposterous of me to affirm unflinchingly that I’m fully satisfied with the outcome, but I’m feeling disarmed by logic, love, and the passing of time. hours. days. weeks. months. years. it’s all added up to this, or so we’d like to think. what fools we are, loyal to this myth of choice and want and time and space. what is everything really, but a series of interactions, moments, experiences, and actors who pass through our own personal books of history?
everything in its right place, moving along this fast-moving track, the pollution clearing, the noise and impediments brushed aside with each added second flour sifted for the next day’s bread. and down the road it is with clarity, though still blurry, that I envision sitting there my own family, my own children, a home, a space, and I’m doing nothing but staring and reminded of this day.