I took a reasonably sized walk just now from the center of town back to Katamon, a walk I remember being a lot longer and sweatier when I took it a few years ago. The sidewalks are slippery here, you have to be careful where you put your feet if you’re wearing sandals, which I always am. I’ve fallen down more than once in the past.
Some combination of lots of writing to do, exhaustion, and salad dressing on my keyboard has made this an overwhelming day, with more than a tint of sadness. In addition to my earlier and still present fear that I am never getting back again, I’m now also worried that the fact that I was here won’t even hit me until I’m home, or even worse, in Ben Gurion waiting for my flight. There’s nothing to be done about it, actually, except to try and be as present as possible for the next two days. It’s like trying not to think about elephants.
Another truth that I’ve been reticent to admit: sometimes there are just no words. I can’t make people who don’t understand what it means to be here suddenly get it. I can’t explain what Israel means, as much as I want to and physically need to, as much as as a writer, I think it’s a cop out to say I can’t describe something. It’s exhausting to talk about being here, especially to those with no reference point, for whom Israel is place that simply equals danger, blood and hatred. The responsibility, real or imagined, feels very great.