© 2019 Drew T. Noll

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Promised Land

Aliyah Shirts outside Dinah's in LA - 

Looking down at the Swiss Alps while flying over, seeing the jagged peaks and crags that jutted from pristine valleys dotted with alpine chalets and winding roads perfect for cycling, I thought briefly upon my adventures over the last 12 years as a new immigrant to the Middle East. I had visited Switzerland many years ago with a backpack and a Eurorail Train Pass, so I imagined my hike navigating the distance around the Matterhorn as I flew overhead, on my way back to Paradise. I was heading to Boulder, Colorado, a place I lived in with my budding family for 15 years before making Aliyah to Israel. We pulled up stakes as soon as my wife said to herself that, “I could live out my life and be buried here… in Boulder.” It was a sign from above, or maybe just the warning siren that life is only what you make of it. We may never know. But, what we do know is that life in the Promised Land has been undeviating in its own rambling kind of way, rough and tough, and that it’s been more rewarding than can ever be adequately expressed. We had left paradise for the Promised Land, and had put all of our expectations on hold while we jetlagged across foreign ideologies and straight through day-to-day life. Even though we knew we would always be a member of the ‘desert generation,’ we also knew that life moving forward needed to be something more than the so-called perfection that we had been experiencing. We didn’t know what it was at the time, but in time we knew that the more experience we gained, the more life we produced. Life was all about taking the turns with grace and speed, with love and with abandonment. We were going up, growing up, making Aliyah. It meant more than just ideology, and it meant more than seeking a better life. It meant shedding our skins and blossoming into something new, like a molting moth, a snake shaking off its old skin, or giving birth to a new generation that could waltz with ease into a land promised from above. It felt as if we were finally becoming immortal, finally coming home.

Moving Halfway around the World Day
Once we got home, we began to fear drowning in the amniotic fluid that we had revered only days before. How would we survive financially? How would we survive…? My woodworking business was a sure flop. We couldn’t speak the local language. I wasn’t even Jewish according to the official religious State establishment. We had landed on the surface of Luna, Yahre'akh, the moon, and we had to pick: to have faith and let the past go, or … to fight for what we had built before, living in paradise, living with challenges developing from a foreign realm, maybe even without any real potential. Faith won. It’s a kind of placebo effect phenomenon, faith is. It builds potential, as much as it nullifies perceived reality. I’m not talking about blind faith, but rather … an informed faith. When I decided to make Aliyah with my family, I was sold on the concept from a place deep inside, a place that I rarely, but inevitably, have the opportunity to visit with. I spent late nights contemplating the nature of the Universe while painting in my studio. I would read my kids to bed, then kiss my beautiful, gorgeous, awe-inspiring wife to sleep, and disappear into the basement or garage with a primal hope to commune. Faith was something that had to be built with sweat and with tears, and with love. Faith was making art and then standing behind the process. Faith was, and is, all about building a better ‘real’ world. And, the world was about to change, forevermore…

Last Visit to Boulder with my Eldest in 08
My eldest son ran, from the taxicab at the curb, directly at me with glee in his eyes. His smile eclipsed all the pointless worries I brought with me from the old country, across the Americas and the Atlantic, over the Mediterranean, and all the way to the Promised Land. I smiled ear-to-ear with him as we embraced, my son telling me that we were going to move half-way ‘round the world … and that we were ‘now’ home. I landed in Israel carrying with me my own perceived stresses, my own hot air balloon stuffed full of my own exasperations. And, the smiles I received while sitting in a taxicab with my family, who had come to collect me at the airport, flipped a switch in my mind that drilled into my consciousness. We had all entered a realm uncharted, together, and we were all riding an insane kind of faith-engine. Reality became irrelevant, and the truth of the world eclipsed the self and all of its stresses like the moon covering the sun. With glee and wonder emanating in streams and sparklers from a taxicab up to Jerusalem, we giggled together as we went up, chortling in secret and out-loud … harmonizing in unison. We all knew that we were going home, however foreign and obtuse it might become. We were on a mighty adventure, and we were coming home.

Me and my Youngest hiking Bear Peak
I sit now in Boulder, writing this, and I’ve had a chance to visit with my old designs from a life gone by. Living was shocking upon reentry here, like crossing into a foreign land. I’ve felt similar feelings visiting Dubrovnik, Kuching, Acumal, or Tana, Langa, and even Daliyat haCarmel back in my ancestral homeland, in Israel. It was always surreal and real at the same time. I met my younger son at the airport upon arrival here in Colorado, who graciously offered to help upkeep and paint our old home with me. He was at the tail end of eight months of personal investment traveling thoroughly throughout the Americas; and, he came to visit with me in the place he was born, at the home of his birth. Funnily, while we visited with family here, we shared stories of his birth and laughed together. From the very beginning he did things his own way, regardless of his deep connection to his roots, and his family. Actually, he brought us all with him, just like my eldest did when he saw the truth of our world and smiled ear-to-ear while shouting out to me, his father, from the backseat of a taxicab careening up hwy 1 to Jerusalem. My family arrived in the Old City, and we settled for a time into a view down onto the Temple Mount. It was a vision from the heavens above, a view onto how my soul could tap into both an ancient ideal, and to a modern vision. I was later married to my beautiful beloved for the second time upon that rooftop, gazing down upon my own ancient history … and gazing into a vortex of a spiritual space-elevator for ‘all’ of time. I was home, swimming through the cosmos, both as a passenger and as the driver, and I was finally (though, not forevermore), One.

Love you all,
D.
My Youngest arriving Back in Israel


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