24 December 2009

Green, Green, My Valley Now

Amazing what a little rain will do to the brittle, brown hillsides of Galilee, nestled hundreds of metres below sea-level in the Jordan Valley

This photo was taken on the western shore about 15 kilometres north of Teveryah, aka Tiberias, yesterday on a misty, chilly morning. The southern end of the Golan on the other side of the lake was almost completely hidden in the mist.

We know the drill

Once the mighty Persian empire lent an ear to little Israel, crushed by Babylon, her leading citizens exiled and weeping for Zion, for Jerusalem, for return home. Babylon booted us out, and the Persians placed us back in the Land. The Romans ransacked Israel and back out we went into exile. After a very long 1900 years the British Empire allowed us back home, and though the British house was eventually divided on this matter, British imperial order went a long way in facilitating the rebuilding of a Jewish country. Now Persia wants to see all this undone. In a sense, they are going against the spirit of their own decree, the decree of their ancient king Darius, who said that anyone getting in the way of the rebuilding of Jewish Jerusalem, especially the Temple, would suffer the penalty of having his house-beam removed, and being impaled upon it, and having his house turned into a hill of dung. (See Ezra 6)

What about it, Mr Makhmoud Akhmadinejad?

18 December 2009

The Red Chair of Courage

Anyone who takes the time put a chair at the end of a concrete pier under construction can't be all bad. Staring out at the ocean is an art, the art of emptyness, in a good sense of the word. One is left open to big thoughts about life and self and all kinds of other meanings-fraught notions. No one looks out at the waves and thinks of bonds and stocks and jobs and pillories, or schemes an aweful thing. The edge-of-pier folk seek not this or that specific thought, but rather solace, a restorative moment, a little peace, and what ever else comes naturally to the living waters-calmed physic of endlessly ailing modern man. Here at pier's edge we may learn as much what we are not, as what we are. It takes guts, of a kind, to let the mind wander out over the ocean far enough to look back with some perspective, at the person sitting in the red chair of courage.

10 December 2009

Khappy Khanukah

Not a corollary to the 25th of December Solstice revelry, or the rebirth of the Dying Shepherd, or the Roman Christ Mass, or the Hindu Festival of Light; or the various Germanic Protestant Decembral holiday observances; or, or, or.

Khanukah is a stand-alone celebration of the Divine and the miraculous. God and Man, in the sturm und drang of free will and too many choices, only one of which is to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God.

Marzipan Macabees are great, but they are not the point of the celebration of Khanukah. You did know that, didn't you?

Oh for goodnes sake, hand me the one in the red foil.

08 December 2009

The Other Side . . .

What is on the other side? Wandering around the hill-side town of Rosh Pinnah in northern Israel, and going down this cobblestone street in the Artists Quarter, I noticed a number of lovely old doors, weathered and latched.

Now is that padlock a warning to leave well enough alone--or is it a device of temptation, urging curiousity, or worse, goading us into petty vandalism for the sake of that curiousity?

Then I noticed that half the walls on the backside of the house were fallen in a heap, and much of the roof was missing.