October 9, 2018

It is two months now since I was hospitalized for a heart attack.  Since I did not accept the cardiologist’s recommendation for treatment (angioplasty, stent, plus 5 strong Big Pharma drugs for the rest of my life), I wasn’t given much hope for living much longer.   A few weeks later, when I went to a cardio rehab clinic for advice about exercising and registered 250 for the top blood pressure number even before I started exercising, I was told I was in stroke territory.

And so I hastened even faster to get all my ducks in a row.   I thought I had already taken care of such details, but it turned out that I had to go into high gear to put together a trust instead of the will I had written a year ago, plus give my relatives more information about how to find this and that, and take care of numerous details.

I have been a determined exerciser for many years in spite of not always being enthusiastic about it.  So, I decided to keep up gentle exercising of my own making.  Being a night owl, I chose to walk my gated community’s quiet neighborhood streets after most had gone to bed.

I knew that trees breathe too, taking in what humans exhale, and vice versa.  Although our southern California mostly dry climate was never right for water-thirsty trees, plants, and grass, our community has been growing and watering a woods all around us for more than 50 years.  The trees are tall and strong.  An hour of walking and breathing among them at night is both calming and joyous.

I have also attended two monthly meetings of the Death Cafe, something available in many communities, including Laguna Beach.  It is free to those who want to come together to discuss dying.  While there are some who come regularly, there are always newcomers.  Rather than a therapy group, it is a discussion group led by a facilitator with no particular agenda.

There are various views toward dying expressed by the people who attend, as well as those who just come to listen.  Since I have personally decided to let nature take its course, I talked about the pink POLST  papers (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment).  This is a legal paper of the patient’s wishes, and is more inclusive than the advanced directive people put in wills and trusts.  It includes 4 sections — Resuscitation or No Resuscitation; Medical Interventions for full treatment, selective treatment, comfort-focused treatment; Nutrition (long term artificial nutrition, trial period of artificial nutrition, and no artificial means of nutrition); and information and signatures of a physician or nurse practitioner, and the name and phone number of the person named as Power of Attorney or Health Care Agent.

Doctors, nurses, and paramedics have been trained to save lives, but this POLST paper puts the power of decision into the patient’s wishes.   And I applaud having the legal right to having my wishes followed.

Another goal I accomplished was updating and modernizing my website while continuing my blog.  I want my website and blog to continue after me, and so I have hired my web designer to look after it and paid the host, Lunarpages, for 5 more years.  Welcome to all readers!

Hoping to test out heaven, I stayed overnight in a place as close to heaven as I could imagine.   In one way or another, my life has always intertwined with oceans.  So, I stayed overnight at the Beachcomber Inn in San Clemente.  Because this dates back to 1948 before San Clemente became crowded and cluttered, its location is open and roomy with an unobstructed view of the ocean from each of the 12 rooms.

Instead of doing the many things I thought I would do there, I never tired of just looking at the ocean, watching and listening to the crashing waves, and appreciating everything I could about the ever changing clouds and blue vastness of the sky above, and the salty water  my ashes will follow one day.

 

 

 

September 21, 2018

I love life, but I believe in dying.  Most of my relatives have died of heart attacks, and most of them died before they even knew they were dying.  And so, I also strongly suspected my heart would be my joy, and cause my death.

Without any warning, I had a heart attack on August 6th.  Unlike most of my relatives, I survived.  However, I had decided long ago to follow my nature girl ways to accept what my heart told me.  Then, living in a retirement community for 19 years has shown me a wide range of ways to treat death among people who have already lived the majority of their lives.

When I have thought of the meaning of life, I have usually been comforted by believing that I am connected to mother nature.  And that means I must die.

I can consider death the enemy and fight it with every ounce of strength and modern medicine I can.  Or, I can recognize that I am a mortal with parts that will wear out naturally.

I considered my heart attack as the beginning of a slippery slope that I have seen followed by many in Laguna Woods Village who manage to reach extreme ages.  Perhaps 109 is the oldest in our Village who still faithfully exercises 6 days a week.  But there is a 108 year old who still comes regularly.  And a 107 year old, then many in their early 100’s.  90’s are barely considered old.  Longevity has become a goal that, with the help of modern medicine and robotic parts, many people are reaching.  And I do believe there may even come a time to choose immortality.

I have friends who overcome one event that might kill them, and then another, and another until their quality of life has been destroyed.  Some I know stay alive because their spouses won’t let them die.

I made the decision to take the non-medical route.  That’s a hard decision for many of my friends to accept.  I have found myself having to defend that decision over and over.  But, as my body weakens, my resolve to accept my natural fate doesn’t.

And so I have signed a POLST pink paper that clearly states I do not wish to be resuscitated, or given any form of nutrition if I have a stroke, and no artificial means be taken to prolong my life.  The Palliative Care people at the hospital have been extremely helpful and supportive.  I’m wearing a Medic Alert bracelet that my father once wore.  Only mine says scratched on the back, Do Not Resuscitate.  And I attended a local Death Cafe at a local senior center where I was able to exchange thoughts with other people who have death, and how to deal with it, on their minds.

My son died of AIDS in 2003.  That was the time when the medication given for AIDS made their lives even more miserable than just the AIDS.  The first time he died, a friend was with him.  Even though the friend knew it was not my almost 35 year old son’s wish to be resuscitated, he called the paramedics.  My son was not grateful.  And six weeks after that, when he died again, he had printed out a large sign that was next to his body that said Do Not Resuscitate.  When there was no hope, and his life was agony, there was no purpose for staying alive.

Some deaths are indeed tragic, but mine won’t be.  I look upon my 75 years as wonderful, fulfilling, adventurous, and well lived.  I am extremely grateful for the health I had, some of which was earned by years of dedication to exercising in many forms.  And I have had a very large portion of good luck in  my life.

My ashes, accompanied by a small amount of my son’s ashes, will be spread in the sea after I die.  The idea of continuing my world wide travels through the connecting seas appeals to me.

My writing continues through the books I’ve written, and many other ways I have wanted to express my thoughts and ideas.  Many are here in this website that has been updated and modernized recently.  If there is a wish for a legacy, or for contact with others, it is through my writing that it will survive.

I have arranged for the web designer who worked with me to re-do this website to monitor www.zimatravels.com until 2024.  So, do keep reading and sending your comments to share.

And just maybe I’ll be able to add more blogs after this one.

 

September 20, 2018

Thirty four years after the airlifts of thousands of Ethiopian Jews in the 1980’s, the younger ones are Israeli born, and, most helpfully, native Hebrew speakers.  That has helped somewhat to equalize their potential for education and a good job — but only somewhat.

The ESRA volunteer program hooked me up in 2018 with a 26 year old Ethiopian young man who participated in a special program in Netanya, Israel.  He was one of several Ethiopian college students who received a free apartment while going to a local college studying for a degree.  In exchange for the free housing, he had a small group of perhaps 4 elementary school kids that he mentored during the week.  Mainly Ethiopian and Russian immigrants live in the same neighborhood with him and were his students in the small groups.

The elementary school students are selected by school social workers who choose children who are serious about learning, but need extra help.  The college mentor serves many functions in the lives of the elementary school students, especially as a role model.   Since there are several such groups in the same neighborhood, the college students also work together to provide activities and support for the younger ones.  Happily, the program is successful for both the college students and the younger ones.

Since army service is compulsory in Israel starting with 3 years after high school, the college students begin college at an older age.  Having extra lessons in English meant adding more responsibilities to an already full week for my student.  In February every year, the college students go through a grueling month of exams.  At that point, my student had to quit his English lessons.

But, getting to know him briefly for a month helped me to see the promising side of Ethiopians born in Israel who are native Hebrew speakers and have a drive to get a college education.

And so I moved on to individually tutoring four 6th grade students at the neighborhood elementary school.  This school was predominantly Ethiopians and Russian immigrants.  That’s where I saw the harsher side of life in the Ethiopian Jewish community.

Generally, the Ethiopian communities in Israel are mired in poverty.  They do receive help from the Israeli government and various helping groups like ESRA, but the older generations came from an agricultural third world country.  They are hard workers, but mostly unskilled for good jobs in Israel.

When one of the teachers learned I had been in Israel in the early days of the Ethiopian Jews in Israel, she asked me, “What were they like?”  I immediately recalled the gentle, patient, sweet people I had known then.

Sadly, those were not the words I would use today to describe the elementary school where I volunteered.  What I saw in the school was continuing bedlam, with students running through the halls, lots of yelling between the students and with the staff, and aggressive hitting that required constantly breaking up fights.

How different was this school from most other schools in Israel?  I admit that I haven’t spent much time in elementary schools in any country, but I did teach Israeli Arab students in the 1980s who were enthusiastic and well behaved students.  I recently spoke with a friend of mine who still works in the Israeli Arab school system and he says that is still the way it is.

However, I know that some Israeli schools of today can also be quite aggressive, unhappy places of physical bullying.  I actually attended a court hearing on behalf of a 13 year old Romanian new immigrant who was so badly beaten at his school by 6 classmates that he was hospitalized for more than 2 weeks.  That got press attention.

The sixth graders I tutored at the school for my last 6 weeks in Netanya were well behaved.  Three were Russian, and one was Ethiopian.  While two of them had low level English, the other two had somehow magically learned English on their own as a third language (Russian, Hebrew, and English) and were quite interesting to teach.

And so, I left Israel with a mixed picture of how the Ethiopian Jews have adjusted to being literally catapulted  from a third world Ethiopian, all black country, into a dynamically changing Jewish homeland.

As expected, the older Ethiopians have had trouble coping with a new world to them that included racism, while the younger native born in Israel are making their way into the Israeli society.  They are tech savvy and have more possibilities for their futures.  Although I saw very few groups of mixed Ethiopians and other Israelis, I did see a few.  And I even saw a few mixed racial couples.  A precious few Ethiopians are in high positions in the Israeli government.

I am sure of one thing — the Ethiopian Jews are in Israel to stay.  They have a large, strong family system.  They have been Jewish for centuries, suffered persecution because of being Jewish, but clung to their Jewishness.  They belong in Israel and are recognized as equal citizens.  And, while there is racism, the Israeli police don’t shoot them and incarcerate them.  And they are respected for their skills as soldiers.

If I ever return to Israel, I can be reasonably sure that the Israeli Ethiopians will continue to make progress integrating into Israeli society.  And I will remember those 42 Ethiopian teens I had been a house mother to in an Israeli boarding school through their early transition to Israel in 1984.

As a very exciting postscript to all the newspaper clippings and other material  a friend had faithfully sent me from Israeli newspapers between 1989 to the present, I was able to donate them to an archive that is being established in Israel in a new center that will be dedicated to Ethiopian Jewry.  Hooray!!

September 18, 2018

While Seated by the Mediterranean Sea

It is Shabbat when a quietness settles over the whole country of Israel and Israelis take a deep breath.  I was sitting on a bench enjoying a view I have made sure to look out upon as frequently as I can.

A young man walking a baby carriage got closer and closer to a gorgeous overlook of the Mediterranean Sea.  He was talking excitedly to the baby inside the carriage.  He was saying in Hebrew, “We’re almost there, we’re almost there” while the baby gurgled back, reflecting her father’s excitement.  “We have arrived!  Look.”  He lifted a bundled baby up high so she could see the sea.  And then, with the baby cradled carefully in his arms, he walked on the path pointing out this and that for his daughter to see.

A Perfect Pair

There is a religious man who lives in the house behind my house in Netanya.  On Shabbat, I can hear snatches of loud sing song prayers he fills his home with after he returns from services at the nearby temple.   A bird on the roof is inspired by his song, and joyfully accompanies him.

On the Train

While I was seated on a train, I noticed a solider sitting opposite me.  All soldiers must keep their rifles with them.  His rifle was slung casually across his lap.  Like most people on the train, he was looking intently into his phone.  But, instead of reading what was there, he was looking carefully at his hair along his forehead.  And, ever so slightly, he was pushing it into the style he wanted.  He was, after all, only a young man who had to do a soldier’s job as do all young men and women in Israel.

You Look Like You Need Help

After 14 hours on a plane, I finally arrived in Israel.  But I then needed to take a train to Tel Aviv to switch to a train to Netanya where an Airbnb awaited me.

An animated young lady had helped me find the right train to Tel Aviv, but she wasn’t going to Netanya.  I was on my own as I struggled with lifting my suitcase onto another train before a kind young man offered to lift my suitcase onto the train.   With my backpack on, I stood by my suitcase and caught the eye of an elderly lady sitting in a row of seats some distance away.

She said in accented English, “You look like you need help.”  Gratefully, I told her I needed to get off at the correct stop for Netanya.  She located a young soldier who wasn’t getting off where I needed, but promised she would take me off the train at the appropriate place.  And she did.

I had been somewhat fluent in Hebrew 30 years earlier when I left Israel.  But, my Hebrew didn’t return with me.  So, I was again a foreigner who spoke a foreign language.  the old lady gently scolded me while reminding me, “If you need help in Israel, just ask.  People here will help you.”

And, in spite of being known for being rude and in a hurry, it is true that Israelis will genuinely try to help whenever they can.

I thought of some bus experiences of many years ago when getting on a bus was a difficult experience.  (It still is.)  One day, I had pushed and shoved my way onto a bus and found a seat.  Next to me sat an old lady who looked at me disapprovingly.  “Where is your sweater?  It’s cold out today.”

And then there was the day I had really struggled to get onto a bus and find a seat.  When I got up to exit the bus with my coat over my arm, the change I had forgotten in my coat pocket pinged noisily onto the floor of the bus.  The same people who had pushed and shoved me while getting onto the bus were now reaching down to pick up my change while shouting, “rayga, rayga” to the driver (which means wait a minute).

And best of all are the times that everyone on the bus joins in with his or her opinion as to which is the best stop to get off to reach a destination, sometimes overruling the advice of the bus driver.  I saw this again this visit when a Taiwanese tourist was trying to get to a new hotel and the bus driver directed him to get off at the wrong stop.  Fortunately, we bus riders got him to exactly where he needed to be.

Facebook Groups for Immigrants

One reality of living in Israel is that there are many difficulties immigrants face.  One big reason for that is that Israelis who grow up in Israel and do army service develop connections and support groups that soften the way.

With social media, Facebook has become a wider source of immigrants making contacts with other immigrants.  These are closed groups that you need to apply to be in.   I joined “Keep Olim (immigrants) in Israel,” and “Keep Olim 50 Plus in Israel.”

Although a lot of griping goes on its pages about hardships and inexplicable and infuriating quirks of life in Israel, there is also important information to be gleaned.  There is optimism to cling to as well from immigrants who persevered and are genuinely happy and content to be in Israel.

There are those immigrants who come from countries they cannot return to, and countries, like the U.S., that they can return to.  And especially considering the difficulties of learning Hebrew well, and a very high cost of living, life in many other countries is still easier than life in Israel.

And, although the right of return remains an option for every Jew, immigrants are no longer needed in the same way they were during the developing years of Israel.  But there is still meaning in “coming home to Israel.”

Cats All Around

I have no idea why the population of cats in Netanya, and probably other places in Israel is so high.  They are wild, good-looking, somehow well fed — and everywhere.  They don’t want to be picked up and petted, taken to live in a human’s home, or played with.  Cats are independent and these cats keep their distance.  If the cats gather near outdoor restaurants, the patrons talk about how healthy and fine looking they are.  I haven’t heard anyone complain about the cats everywhere.

Gourmet Ice Cream

There is one kind of ice cream store in the Arab Israeli city of Shefaram that has been known for its unique flavors the owners created.  It’s still really yummy.

But, now in every part of Israel, colorful sculpted mounds of gourmet ice ream are available.  It’s an artist’s delight, and ice cream lovers don’t even blink at the expense (just under $5 for the tiniest little cup).

There is a new hotel ice cream shop not far from where I live that I usually visit weekly on Saturday (Shabbat) to indulge.  On one Shabbat, there was an unusually large crowd of adults and children congregating in the ice cream shop.  The clerks behind the counter are very well trained to keep calm when being pressured by customers who gather closely and demand their ice cream.

Israelis are not fond of lines.  So, regardless of the age, it’s usually a group of impatient people exclaiming that they were there first.

I made my stand next to a boy about 9 years old who was there with his dad.  He looked at me suspiciously and said in Hebrew (which I understood), “I’m next.”  His face looked rather mean.  I said in Hebrew, “I know.  I’m just standing here waiting.”  Realizing he wasn’t going to have to fight me for his place, his face softened.  Both he and his father proceeded to get small tastes of several flavors before they made their big decisions. Other grown ups were demanding their right to be next.

I found it rather amusing because my very first roommate in Israel 35 years ago had taught me the words in Hebrew with the appropriate stern look, “There’s a line here.”

Purim in the Air, and Everywhere

It’s nice to be in a whole country that celebrates Jewish holidays.  In fact, Purim is one of the few happy Jewish holidays.  It is a time to masquerade as anyone or anything you wish to be.  There was definitely Purim in the air at the mostly Ethiopian grammar School where I was a volunteer teacher.

I went to our school’s party today and was impressed by the variety of costumes and made up faces of the students cavorting to the music blasting out of huge speakers in the playground.

All the teachers wore costumes too.  I wore a butterfly mask that I  decorated by scraping away black to reveal myriad colors and designs.

I sat my old body down to appreciate the ease with which the young children danced, jumped, fell down, and bounced back up.

And then a young Ethiopian Spiderman, who couldn’t quite figure out which teacher I was, came closer and closer to stare through the eyeholes of my mask.  But I had sunglasses on, so all he could see was his own reflection.

Afterward, I went to thank the principal for inviting me to the party.  She was very appropriately dressed as Superwoman.  Outside her office was a teacher I hadn’t met before.  As I came closer, she mimicked horror at the creature I was.  “No, no” I said.  “I’m a beautiful butterfly, not a scary creature.”  Whether or not she understood my English, I don’t know.  But she embraced me with a wonderful, warm hug.

Israel’s just that kind of place you don’t know what to expect next.

 

 

The first time I came to Israel was in 1982.  Why?  After I divorced, I had gone back to college at a ripe old age to get a Master’s degree in Social Work.  I hadn’t discovered by that time that I really was meant to be a teacher.

As it does to many Jews, Israel had always called to me faintly.  But I wasn’t ready to commit to living there until I could see it for myself.  A visitor from Israel had once told me that anyone can be a volunteer on a kibbutz.  At that time, I was a young mother with no plan to ever see Israel, except perhaps as a tourist.  But something inside me felt excited about volunteering on a kibbutz.

Finally, the summer school break of 1982 at the age of 39 was my chance to sign up to be a volunteer on a kibbutz for two months.  That would give me the opportunity to see Israel for myself, as well as experience the purest form of communism — a kibbutz.

It was indeed a great introduction to Israel, and gave me what I needed to make the leap to becoming an immigrant in 1983, entering a program for American trained social workers who needed to learn the social work system in Israel, as well as studying Hebrew 5 hours a day.

My coming to Israel only slightly preceded the historical secret night airlifts of Ethiopian Jews from refugee camps in Sudan.  In a matter of hours, these Ethiopian Jews were whisked from an isolated all-black third world existence into a very different world connected to them only by being Jewish.

There were many differences between Israel of that time, and America.  However, in 1983, something was missing for me in the Jewish homeland — black people.  I was used to black people in my world, especially after I lived in integrated New Orleans for three years.

As a new immigrant, the government not only housed us, taught us Hebrew, but also brought us to meaningful events to teach us Israeli history.  One of these events was in the magical city of Jerusalem in 1984.

Picture this if you can — a large stage with a stone column rising on each side from the stage into the sky.  In between was the incredibly dramatic all-natural Judean desert.  And then a large group of Ethiopian immigrants arrived to take their seats.  They had particularly beautiful faces, their blackness accentuated by the all white cloth wrapped around their bodies.  I decided in that moment, “I want to work with them.”

By chance, I started to go to a center to learn Hebrew that was shared with newly arrived Ethiopian teenagers.  Most had braved the dangers of walking out of Ethiopia into Sudan without their families.  In our mutually baby Hebrew at that point, I got to know some of the teens studying there.

How to get a paying job working with them?  A little miracle helped.  I was sitting in an office of Youth Aliyah, the Israeli governmental department in charge of the Ethiopian children, when the person I was telling I wanted to work with Ethiopians received a call from the director of a boarding school in a northern city called Maalot pleading for help with newly arrived 42 new Ethiopian teenaged boys.  And that’s how I got my first job in Israel as the housemother to newly arrived Ethiopian teens.

Not only did I enter a job with a low level of Hebrew, but I had to immediately adjust to an orthodox religious boarding school that nothing in my Jewish upbringing had prepared me for.  And I was there to mother extremely stressed teenaged boys who had been catapulted into a modern world, a Jewish culture that was only partly familiar to them, and a white world.

Complications of all sorts were everyday experiences.  Not all boarding schools reacted the same.  But the native Israeli boys in our boarding school resented the new students and all the free clothes, books, etc. and perhaps most of all, the attention the Ethiopian students received.

Although all were teen boys, the two cultures clashed in how they fought.  Instead of fists, the pattern became that the Israeli kids would goad an Ethiopian kid into throwing rocks, which was his natural form of defense in Ethiopia.  Throwing rocks crossed the line for Israeli kids and the boarding school staff who considered rock throwing unfair fighting.

My personal biggest thrill being with the Ethiopians was that they had come from a totally black world that had never been dominated by a white country.  (Italy had tried and failed.)  As Ethiopian Jews, they had been hated by the Ethiopian Christians, but their skin color was a source of pride in a predominantly gentle all-black world.

They had told me at the boarding school that they felt closer kin to white Jews than to non-Jewish Ethiopians.  I feared for their future outside Africa.  And then there was the day that one of my cutest kids said in Hebrew, “I want to be white.”

That was in 1984.  I accepted Israel citizenship after 3 years in Israel, left Israel in 1989 for a variety of reasons, and then returned briefly for a visit on my 50th birthday.  Fast forward to January 1, 2018, when I returned once again at the age of 74 to Israel for 3 months.

I returned to update my knowledge of the many changes in Israel, and to volunteer with Ethiopians in the city of Netanya along the Mediterranean Sea coast.  I knew from a friend sending me regular Jerusalem post newspaper clippings about the Ethiopians that their life in Israel had been more than difficult.  I wanted to see them for myself after more than 30 years later, and do something meaningful during my stay.  By then I knew that the most helpful thing I could do would be to tutor English to Ethiopian kids.

 

Written on March 26, 2018, by the Mediterranean Sea in Netanya, Israel

Breathe in

Breathe out

I have read that it is healthier to live by the sea.  You breathe better.  And I certainly drift into a dreamless sleep, and then drift back into consciousness.  It is the most wonderful sleep, and I am very grateful for it.

Sleep without care, sleep without worry.  And today the gentle wind made my sleep by the sea all the better.

I did not agonize over this being the last time I’ll sleep beside you.  No trauma over having to leave your soothing gentleness and the state of sleeping grace you somehow transport me into.

I came to Israel — and I found …. peace and simple gratitude for how you make me feel by purifying my mind.

Lihitraot.  (Goodbye)  Ahava. (Love)

Breathe in

Breathe out

Namaste

Written on March 25, 2018, next to the Mediterranean Sea in Netanya, Israel.

Breathe in

Breathe out

I was sorry to leave you last time all grayish and wettish.  Today, when I saw the sun and the bluegreen of your water and the solid blue of the sky, I felt happy to think of saying goodbye to a more normal you.  You see, I’ll be away a long time now — maybe forever.

But, being close to you today, I can tell you are all riled up.  The sun is warm, but the wind is strong and cold.

Are you telling me we need to accept what we cannot change, what we cannot control?  Perhaps, but that’s probably anthropomorphizing  just a bit too much by putting meaning where there is only chance.

Your voice is strong today too as the white waves roll in.  No delicacy in you today.  Is there some message in that?  Prepare for the unpredictable maybe?  Or, are you just pleasing yourself and not caring about connecting?

Ah, you are most likely simply responding to subtleties in nature I have no understanding of.

Just be you, and I’ll appreciate you as you are and thank you anyway for being with me these past 3 months.  For sure I’ll miss you, but not expect you to miss me.  We are kin, but we are not one.

While I walk, I wonder why the noise of the sea soothes me, but the noise of a crying child or a motor bike revving up drives me nuts.

Then, as I pondered why I am so sure there is a mind/body connection, and less clear about communication between humans and nature, chance brought a friend onto the same path by the sea as I was on.

We sat by you for quite a long time, watching the sunset and animatedly discussing a wide range of topics.  You faded into an accompaniment to two humans speaking the same language enjoying being together by the sea.  Diversity between humans and nature has beauty, but so does warm conversation between two humans, accompanied by nature.

Breathe in

Breathe out

Namaste

 

Written on March 24, 2018, near the Mediterranean Sea in Netanya, Israel.

Breathe in

Breathe out

Are you angry at me because I’m leaving Israel in a matter of days?  Your waves are moving fast and loudly.  The sky is a cloudy mass.  The sun peeks in and out.

I came today with a bittersweet sense of our time together running out.  Over these past 3 months, I have seen you in many moods — both mine and yours.  Your company has meant a great deal to me.  We are certainly not equal, but we are both offspring of Mother Nature.  That makes us kin.

Since I cannot take you with me, I will only take the sense of you.  Will that be enough?  It will, after all, have to do.  But I will miss you terribly even so.

Breathe in

Breathe out

Namaste

Written on March 20, 2018, by the Mediterranean Sea in Netanya, Israel

Breathe in

Breathe out

I sit by you as day is about to turn into night.  And then I think about tomorrow night when I will be totally engulfed by stars in a place that has very little light pollution to diminish the impact.

I remember the feeling best from long ago when I went hiking in the Sinai, slept outside, and woke up in the middle of the night with endless stars as far as I could see.  Hopefully, I will have that feeling again in Mitzpe Ramon in the Negev desert.

The sea touching the earth.  The stars touching the heavens.  And then, in between, are we humans who just can’t seem to figure it all out.

There are humans.  And there is nature.  We are somehow connected.  But, oh, how better off nature would be without humans.

Breathe in

Breathe out

Namaste

 

Written by the Mediterranean Sea on March 17, 2018, in Netanya, Israel.

Breathe in

Breathe out

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

I almost didn’t come to you today.  Shabbat (Saturday) is a busier day by the sea, and I prefer having you to myself.  But, as sunset approached, I heard you calling me to see just how beautiful you would be at this sunset.  How I appreciate your color, the clouds crowding you, and the sound of the waves lapping the shore.

Yes, endings are important too.

I am facing the ending soon of my 3 months in Israel and who I am now compared to how I was almost 3 months ago.  As well as the ending of curling within the snake-like sculpture to take in this view of you.  And the ending of visiting you in only a 10 minute slow walk from where I live.

Slowly, quietly, subtly, the sun melds with the gray.  Ah, now your ball is no longer visible, but the clouds still keep your beauty and color a bit longer.  And you continue to light up the sky even as you die this day.

I like your ending — would that my ending will also brighten the sky as I say goodbye.

Breathe in

Breathe out

Namaste

 

 

%d bloggers like this: