June 3, 2023•598 words
Saturday afternoon and I'm pacing about. I have no appetite. I can't be bothered to read the weekend paper or watch Netflix. I play with my toddler son a bit but then he goes off to his nap. My older son is having an afternoon of "XBOX and friends".
Alone in my restlessness I note that I'm down. Depressed. Fed up. Sick and tired of everything. My perspective has gone to hell.
I tell my wife that I need to go for a ride now, not later. I need four hours to figure this out. "Vai com Deus" ("Go with God" in Portuguese) and off I go.
On the road I'm slow, that car behind me must be annoyed, but heck I'm on a bicycle, why do I have to pretend I'm on a rocket? Why can't I just be on a bicycle? Surprisingly the motorist doesn't pressure me or honk, flowing along with the Saturday Jerusalem calmness of the road.
I don't know where I'm going, I'm not in the mood for anything, except for maybe cycling, but I haven't decided that yet. Rolling, rolling, pedaling I decide that maybe I want to ride fast after-all. Maybe I'm not on a rocket, but I'm not just on a bicycle, I'm a conqueror of self. A breaker of barriers. A believer in the highway to heaven. A destroyer of excuses.
The smell of forest fires and the droning of the props above, diving into the valley in their attack. Man verses nature. The old, endless war. And it ends momentarily when nature lets the man who doesn't give up win. For it's not really a war, it's a challenge. Out of the ashes will rise a greener forest. Out of man will rise a better man.
A pack of strays, beautiful beasts, a whistle from me and an aggressive response from them. Good dogs, being fearless is the key to survival out here.
Route 60, busy as ever on a Saturday and I'm still not sure where I'm going or if I even want to be going anywhere. In my mind I'm still pacing. I'm still down. I'm still depressed.
Insane, aggressive drivers on the road today, honking, yelling but I don't care. I'm unaffected. I'm somewhere else. I'm figuring something out.
I head onto the routes less traveled and for sure not traveled by an Israeli on a bicycle. Mosques and donkeys, fields set purposefully on fire. Palestinian families picking grapes while the small children chase each around the vines. Smiles and waves at this unusual visitor.
The setting sun, the barren land, the contested land, lies before me. The Holy Land, The Promised Land, The Occupied Land, Palestine, the Land of Israel, whatever it is, here I am. Amichai is here and life is beautiful.
Around the now dark bend, an armored IDF jeep keeps watch, with its orange flashing light marking its presence. Its bright headlights lighting up the dark, light-less road. A symbol of safety for Israelis. A symbol of occupation for Palestinians. A symbol of familiarity for me. The only other Israelis out here at this moment.
Down the dark road, tearing down my emotional walls as the moon replaces the sun. The tears rolling down my cheeks. I'm aware that I don't know why I'm sad but I have the cure. I don't need to speak to anyone. I don't need to share with anyone. It doesn't matter why I feel what I feel but by the time I get home I'll say “Life is beautiful".
Because it's been an amazing day.