Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Hike in Three Parts

When my sister-in-law Linda invited me to go along with her on a full-day trip, I was reluctant to go. The DH has been unwell for a month now, and it is really hard for me to leave him. But after a month of almost non-stop caregiving, I really needed a break. So I decided to go.
Linda works at a girls' school in Jerusalem. When the school takes the girls on trips, she can go along and even take a guest of her own. Lucky me, I was the one she chose.
Our tour guide was one of the best in the country, Shonnie Taragin. We visited three places. First was the village of Tekoa, in the area where the prophet Amos lived. Here is Shonnie reading to us from the Book of Amos.

The area around Tekoa is hilly and rugged. There are caves all along the hillsides, created by water and wind erosion over the years.
A group of Christian monks used to live in these caves in the 5th century. They had a practice of silence during the week, but on Sunday they would gather together to share their meals, commune, and sing. Then they would return to their individual caves and their silence, until the following Sunday.

The valley between the hills is called a "wadi". I'm not sure of the exact translation, but I understand a wadi to be a river bed that is dry most of the year, but when the rain from the mountains runs down to the bottom of the valley in the rainy season, it forms a river there. Technically, I guess the bottom of the valley behind my house could be considered a wadi, as when there is a heavy rainfall, a lovely stream is created in the middle. In this picture you can clearly see the dry riverbed between the hills of Tekoa.

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