We went out on this mission with... a true will to help... [and] that we already helped this woman [to give birth] makes me feel that I made a contribution.
— Major Efrat Shrir, nurse midwife
... And they named him [Israel]... to remember that this is the first baby that was born in the IDF field hospital.... [in an area] essentially like any delivery room although it is in a soccer field.
— Major Doctor Shrir Dror, gynecologist
January 19, 2010
January 09, 2010
I'm decked out head-to-toe in layers of Polartec® and wool, and I'm packing for shorts and sandals weather. As my (inner) head begins turning eastward, I briefly ponder this dual citizen's now decade-old question: Am I coming or going? The answer is a resounding, Yes.
Lacking proper interest and time to answer definitively (give it another decade, I kid myself), I've more pressing matters to address. Such as shifting from the mechanics and mindset of living my life in Atlanta the past months to living in Israel the coming ones.
And now — way past high time, seems perfect to blog about my wonderful "Welcome Home" party (uh, last summer).
Watch the video (4:55 minutes).
A dear friend and neighbor once told me that early in their marriage, he and his wife were riding in a rattling car, and he wanted to stop and repair the rattle. His wife's signature mantra — Keep moving, keep moving helped launch the couple's journey on a right path, informing and sustaining their wonderful marriage (five-decades-long-and counting!).
The venue and menu
So when I returned to Atlanta from Israel last summer, and Carolyn and David S. invited me to their home for a pot-luck gathering with some of my fascinating friends, I asked everyone to bring a travel story — real or imagined, original or inspired by others' muses. A story such as Keep moving, keep moving.
The travel stories
- Helen's invocation (excerpted in the video) set the tone for the gathering, and her reading Wendell Berry's The Vacation closed the affair.
- Both David's shared Euro-travels: David S. on a college summer Grand Tour gained admission to a Monaco casino thanks to a quick makeover — unstuffing from his backpack a severely crumpled jacket, then donning it over his collegiate costume! David B. illustrated his story using a guide to the Lascaux, the setting of a complex famous for Paleolithic cave paintings that he explored on a bicycle tour of Southern France's Dordogne River Valley.
- Janet read (shown in the video) Henry van Dyke's A Parable of Immortality. (Weeks after hearing it for the first time, David B. incorporated the poem in a eulogy he delivered, grateful for Janet's selection and ensuing discussion on her grandmother's journeys that the poem triggered!)
- Hope read sample Burma-Shave brushless shaving cream commercials (popular on early 20th century highway billboards). Examples: Every shaver / Now can snore / Six more minutes / Than before / By using / Burma-Shave and I proposed / To Ida / Ida refused / Ida won my Ida / If Ida used / Burma-Shave.
- Brian read from his journal entries on a cross-country trip with several fellow high schoolers and Ken Crady, their entrepreneurial social studies teacher.
- Luther read (shown in the video) an excerpt from his essay, Home on the Road (pdf).
- Our hosts' big-screen TV was perfect for watching a copy of Stephanie's journey an hour from home, Southern Creatives: Melanie Eberhardt, Painter. (The story is among Steph's archive of digital stories). She then previewed upcoming journeys farther afield on other continents with the Picture Hope prize-winning project.
- I, insufficiently tekky..., brought a non-playing copy of three short videos I had made in Israel: Shawarma: A taste of pure Israel, At Chinky Beach, Singing the "Song of the Sea," and Mt. Tabor, Israel — lessons and gifts.
- College junior Daniel's nature-guiding tales, high schooler Caroline's life lessons and dreams, Carolyn's travel poetry readings, and elementary schooler Vivienne's imaginings of the Wright Brothers also contributed to our collective sharing and delight.
We journey, travel, explore as individuals; members of families, communities, and peoples; and as creatures in the cosmos. Where are we going, and why? How are we living, wherever we are? What can we learn from others? At home and abroad? Today and ages ago? How then should we live?