May 31, 2023

It was lovely, Walking in the Valley of Death. That sure sounds strange, but it was true back on my third day in Israel in January, I happily walked through the Valley of Death. Time to resume my journey through Israel.  Not only was the weather that far better than Midwest American Winter, the place I went was a park that happened to be an ancient cemetery – Bet She’arim.  But let me start with a quote my diary that... Read more

May 21, 2023

Fate handed me a gift With time to spare I am standing by a bookstore looking for something to read.  The store is closed but there are $1 books on tables with a box for dollar bills.  The one I chose took me back to a song my mother used to play on the Hi Fi: “Lost in the Stars.” I am in Claremont California for a day, to see two of my oldest friends, but until the afternoon.  Rather... Read more

May 8, 2023

Those with brains like mine ought to have a sign on our foreheads that says, “Under Construction.”  That is to say, we are never complete. which is a good thing but frequently frustrating. By good I mean we are ever learning.  Bioscience, which once thought our brains stop making new cells around 25 years, now knows we make new cells as well as thicken the connection between those that remain.  One reason we geezers are encouraged to learn new things... Read more

April 24, 2023

Other bloggers make points; I tell stories, because pilgrim life is a never ending story.  That’s fine with me, because stories are what make the Bible, the Mahabharata, the Iliad, and Paul Harvey memorable.  Remember Paul Harvey?  He ended his radio reports with the phrase, “and now you know the rest of the story.”  Wrong Paul.   There is no ‘rest of the story.’   True, the story I am telling now is of my pilgrim journey to Israel, which does have... Read more

April 16, 2023

Where  Am I? I got little sleep those first two nights, and upon waking I actually heard myself ask, “Where am I?” (After a detour owing to the Christian holy days, and too many days, it is time to get back to Tel Aviv, where I landed setting out from Grand Rapids 36 hours earlier). “Where am I” is a very Buddhist question.  All forms of Buddhism teach that what we perceive is illusory, not reality.  Take me 7000 miles... Read more

April 2, 2023

Though I am many posts away from my day spent on the Mount of Olives, today, being the holiday, the agnostic pilgrim ruina Palm Sunday.  That picture is pretty much what we imagine.  Until recently, we did not notice that everyone is too white and too clean, but aside from that it looks about right.  Until you actually go there.  Shall we? Having spent my morning wandering the valley directly below the Temple Mount, a place stuffed with biblical references, ... Read more

March 20, 2023

I wake up from my drugged and jetlagged sleep and actually do think, “Where Was I?”  Oh yeah, he thinks, coming to life.  This groggy pilgrim is in Tel Aviv. Those who live the Pilgrim Life are often unsure where they are.  Anyone remember the goofy movie, “It’s Tuesday It Must Be Belgium.” a sendup of whirlwind tours of Europe?  For a few seconds that is how I feel.  And that’s good, by the way. Who really knows where they... Read more

March 7, 2023

There we were in box car, Dad and brother and me, on a rail excursion, a day trip along a section of right of way where rail buffs like my dad would go to see some unusual trestle or tunnel, and standing there huddled like human cows dad saw and old friend and said to my puzzlement, “Long time no see!”  It made no sense at the time (being about eight) which is probably why it has stuck with me. ... Read more

February 23, 2023

I Just Flew in from Israel, And… Well, you know the rest.  And you may have noticed (cough) that I launched right into my most recent travel – Israel  – and yes, “Boy, is my spirit tired!”  Nowhere more than the city of Jerusalem, where you encounter two nations, three world religions, four climatic zones, and at least ten conquerors meet.  When you are there you meet all of these and more. I came home exhausted, consciously and willingly, but... Read more

February 19, 2023

I have “gone up” to the Holy Land.    In Judaism, the term Aliyah means go up, and applies to Jews immigrating to Israel.  Not being a Jew,  I am not, strictly speaking, making Aliyah.  But the idea of going up, is literally and spiritually true for me.  Literally, because Jerusalem sits on several hills which rise up from the Mediterranean Sea to the west and from the Dead Sea to the east.  It is spiritually true because, being a... Read more

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