Yesterday ended our tour, and perhaps the cease fire, but I don't know. I'm in the blank world of transit.
Yesterday was a day of much talking and meeting with everyone jockeying for position. Our one outing took us to Har Hertzl, Israel's military cemetery.
Our guide put his heart into the visit, which he based on the army's role. Israel has a citizen army so every story of sacrifice is perceived as the loss of intimate member of society. Of course, this is true in much of the free world, yet it has a outsized dynamic power in Israel. Among the graves we visited was one of a new immigrant to Israel who served in the army without a local family. Each Friday his best army buddy comes to the cemetery and brews coffee for the two to share, just as they used to do on the buddy's apartment porch each week.
Finally, we came to the new graves of a few of the fallen in this most recent war. It's powerful to stand next to a grave of someone so recently alive and well who died in your defense.
The graves were being prepared for the built up grave makers used at Har Hertzl. A worker was actually removing a few inches of dirt to allow the stones to be set. I watched for a while moving lightly in thought. The smell of something pulled me back. It was the smell of the dirt being removed.
Dirt is wonderful, both dead and alive, both dust and rebirth. As in all things, it is what we do with it and how we live our precious lives in its company.