Do I begin with blasphemy and refer to these stories as the origin myths of my people or refer to them as actual historical sites undergirding the Christian faith? I live somewhere betwixt and between these two extremes…just enough verifiable history to sustain a rationalizable narrative.
Jordan is prominent in the Bible with a number of noted Biblical references. Without realizing it, we drove through Moab, the namesake of my favorite town in the United States, a place where my soul is anchored. Aside from both being arid, they appeared to have nothing else in common.
Petra is THE jewel of Jordan. By contrast, our hotel in Petra was on the very basic end of basic, especially when held in contrast to our luxurious suite in Aqaba. Twin beds instead of a king. The room was less than half the size of our suite in Aqaba and the bathroom was 1/4th the size and that is being generous. We couldn’t help but make unfair comparisons between the two. On the positive side, it was less than a five minute walk to the Petra entrance and there were quite a few restaurants between the two. We ate dinner at two different establishments. Both times the plates were so large we had difficulty finishing all our food.
Wadi Rum, known also as the Valley of the Moon, is a valley cut into sandstone and granite rock, a combination making for some startling scenery. It is the largest wadi (valley) in Jordan. Prior to my wife’s investigations, Wadi Rum was not on my travel radar. I’m glad it was on hers.
Wadi Rum is the background for a number of movies including “The Martian“. When it came out, despite the lead actor being Jason Bourne reincarnated into an astronaut, I had absolutely no desire to watch the movie. That attitude has changed with our visit to the otherworldly Wadi Rum. I now want to see how they used the scenery to simulate a Mars experience.
I have walked in the ancient steps around the world. The ones touching me deepest, Ephesus comes to mind, are those associated with my natal mythology, my childhood creation stories. Not because I believe any mythology carries more validity than another. Their purpose is to help people cope at a specific point in history by establishing a moral code, a working agreement by which society can coexist. All peoples create interpretations of the gods. My affinity with Jordan is planted in the soil from whence my roots sprung, the symbology with which I am intimately familiar, the altar where I bent knees in homage to all my people deemed holy.
As for me, I would rather
Be a worm in an apple than a son of man.
But we are what we are, and we might remember
Not to hate any person, for all are vicious;
Ang not be astonished at any evil, all are deserved;
And not fear death; it is the only way to be cleansed.
My first reaction at touching the cold casket was to jerk my hand away. As a bearer of the pall, I was one of six cousins granted the honor to lay my hand on the casket moving it from the visitation area to the back of the church before the pall was draped over the casket and the silver crucifix, a symbol of my Uncle’s faith, laid atop the sheep white pall.
I was surprised though I shouldn’t have been at the coldness of the metal encasing my uncle’s physical remains. We were in Olympia Washington and the morning was typically chilly. Hot days are such an anomaly in this part of the Pacific Northwest, most people don’t bother with airconditioning. The cold, shiny metal seemed alien contrasted to the warm, abiding love of my imperfect family. My family, my extended family were gathered from around the country to honor our recently passed patriarch. He was the fourth of five siblings I called Father, Aunt, Uncles to take leave of our family. Continue reading →
Paradise. What if you came across an offer to rent paradise, a paradise sans the 72 virgins promised to martyrs, at a rate of $340 for 8 hours. Would you do it? Would you spend hard-earned dollars for a short-lived venture into paradise? Would you spend the money knowing at the end there is no trinket to carry home, no physical memorabilia to add to your cache?
I would. I did…sorta. It was company money. Not my own. However, when traveling for business I do my best to spend the money as if it was my own. I didn’t really visit paradise… unless viewed when confined to a tiny space tiltable a few degrees with barely enough legroom and a deep breath means crossing the invisible border between the neighbor’s uncomfortable seat and your uncomfortable seat all while soaring at 500 mph while 37k miles over earth’s surface and struggling with fatigue. From this perspective, Premium Economy in a Lufthansa tin can feels like a slice of heaven. Not as heavenly as Business Class nor the Nirvana I’m told exists in First Class a place I’ve heard rumors of but never actually plopped my ass. Would it feel like sitting naked on silk? Or a puffy cloud?
The long, leisurely drive from Garden of the Gods to the Comfort Inn in Alamosa where we will hole up during our visit to the Great Sand Dunes National Park takes us by the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. It is happenstance. We had no idea it existed. We see the sign. Have the time. Stop for a visit. As the name suggests, it is famous for fossil beds including massive stumps of petrified redwood trees. After watching the Park Service video, I am most anxious to encounter the petrified beings, to touch the stone rings stretching deep into the seasons before man attempted to harness time, before man created gods in her own image, before woman anointed herself lord of creation. Continue reading →