Christmas Eve at Bethlehem

It’s the packed-like-sardines time of the year at the little town of Bethlehem, especially at the Manger Square next to the Nativity Church. I’ve jogged through it a dozens of times, but not today. 🙂
mangersquare

Later on, we decide to get our family picture taken up the hill, at Beit Jala, where it was less crowded.
voelkerxmasbeitjala

Bob Dylan Exhibition in Tel Aviv

We were walking through the Museum of the Jewish People situated within Tel Aviv University when I heard the song “Like a Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan. At first I thought, “Hey, that’s pretty cool that they are playing some American classics.” Then it occurred to me that Bob Dylan is a Jewish Musician, a good one at least. 🙂
The museum had a whole exhibition room dedicated to the complex artist and his art of music, poetry and commentaries. Pretty interesting.

bobdylandisplay

Clouds of the Rainy Season

Winters are somewhat brutal here in Beit Jala / Bethlehem since the temperature inside the house isn’t much better than outside (no central heat). On the brighter side, however, the seasonal clouds roll in, which translates to gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. Here’s a view from our bedroom window this morning, overlooking Bethlehem.
Black Fridays and Cyber Mondays are a distant past. 🙂
sunrisecomp

Running from Bethlehem to Jericho (50 km / 31.5 miles)

When “running from Bethlehem to Jericho” is googled, nothing comes up.  A fellow teacher, Brian, and I decide to change that.

We trained for a marathon that took place last week.  Things came up and we couldn’t make it.  We didn’t want to ‘waste’ our training, so we decide to run from one biblically well known city to another.

I took off 3:10 in the morning; Brian, a bit after 5.  Our plan was to finish around the same time.  The hills were challenging in the beginning, but it got much easier after hitting the freeway, around the 1/2 way mark, since it was pretty much downhill, towards the Dead Sea below the sea level.

It took me 7 hours and 14 minutes to get to the town square.  Brian was not too far behind me.  I felt ecstatic, especially for Brian.  He skipped a marathon and jumped right into an ultra!

50 km non-stop.  It’s pretty crazy.  I hope this page comes up on google when “running from Bethlehem to Jericho” is typed soon.  It just might be the only one!

31miles

Men at Work

workinghardMen at work, building houses, with sticks, cement and steel rods. That’s what is used around here throughout Palestine.

Breaking onto the other side

Ran on a new trail this morning, punching through the other side of the tunnel under the railroad tracks, definitely noticing a stark contrast between an Arab town and an Israel national park.
tunnelrailroad

Reasons for Moving

We tackled the same trail as the last week’s long run, but a bit farther. The hills seemed to have grown steeper, however. That’s the ONLY explanation why my pace was so slow! 🙂
I often recite this poem by Mark Strand when I feel tired, close to the end. I have my own reasons for running. What is yours?
—-

Keeping Things Whole (by Mark Strand)

In a field
I am the absence
of field.
This is
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.

When I walk
I part the air
and always
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body’s been.

We all have reasons
for moving.
I move
to keep things whole.

trailrun3

Embracing Darkness

Shot some pictures for a school outing/party today. This one was my favorite, seeing the light paint with shadows. We often try out best to avoid the darkness. Instead, we need to embrace it. Light then becomes more beautiful, more radiant, more powerful.
shadowpainting