First Night in Jerusalem

You know when you're experiencing something, and right in the middle of that moment — it could be hours long or a millisecond — you can feel it being stamped indelibly on your brain? Like suddenly the drowsy court stenographer in your mind jolts awake, shakes herself, and begins furiously typing, and even as you observe the events unfolding you can already hear their narration — that same narration you will hear years from now whenever something pulls you back, again, again, to this nascent memory?

That is how I felt in the airplane when the clouds parted and I first looked down upon Israel, real Israel-not-just-in-books, and it is also how I felt as we ascended the hills into Jerusalem. The melting chocolate peanut butter cup in my hands. The windows down, the smell of rain in the air, and across verdant valleys and winding roads, shimmering beige fortresses peaked out of the clouds. I felt like the crane vending machine of time had suddenly plucked me up by the head, moved me haltingly toward scratched plexiglass, and dropped me right into this strange and ancient place. Where was I. When was I. What child had won me now.

Pictured: early morning view from the balcony of the fourth floor loft I'm staying for the week.