I’ll never forget the spectacularly unobstructed 360 degree, victorious views seen from a tall, proud, mountainous Masada, the tranquility of a dawn’s preciously light pastel pink, red orange desert risen sun compared to the gentle warmth of a beach’s early February winter waters against granularly beige pebble rock sand. Earth tonal seaside island blues and perfectly paired pearly whites greet in Tel Aviv and Tzfat, as if naturally tearing a page out of Greece’s scenically inspired travel guide. 

Ten years ago, a ventured birthright called me home. Excitement‘s expectation quickly blew past me, as if noticeably observant from a bus’s significantly envisioned, detailed rear view mirror. 

From the blissful moment of touchdown to take off (just short of two weeks, in an elongated span of eleven days), security became the biggest elephant in the room, a necessary, must have conversation. A trip’s rescheduling reignited, sudden anxious nerves’ capably welcomed return. Normality arrives, joined alongside youth’s bravest, on off working, vacationing, dimly camouflaged, mud green, yellow outfitted soldiers representative and servant of the IDF (the Israeli Defense Force).

Old Town Jerusalem was a favorite, our first stop amongst many, alongside the bitter cold, dense fog and the misted rain, a continuous, storied factor. Shabbat services led an open book spiritual identified journey, if not conquered sacredness in the land of the holy. Achieved calmness surrounded the immediacy of an openly widened circle, debuting the expanded arrival of a peacefully relaxed, enticed weekend. 

Abnormal were the amount of strangely stranded, determined, friendly stray cats making their way through the veteran vintage, busily crowded, cobblestoned streets as my group and I enjoyed our first delicious taste of traditionally native felafel. We should have asked for the recipe.

Intuition to lose one’s self stems from an initially brimming, genuinely familiar, inclusive presentation, history’s willingly glimpsed invitation. Witness to accepted, attempted, destructive violence triggers succeeds the accelerated image of an afterthought, permanently driven into mind. Severely charred, largely sized rockets and tiny, black bullet holes multiplied closer to the Gaza border, no matter the location. Through apparently recurring PTSD, memories flash. A hopeful (yet forcefully effective), mutual end ceasefire once again reigns.