Showing posts from 2018

Flying into the Sunrise (Part 2)

We then flew over more volcanoes stabbing through cloud-cover to Medan, Sumatra. We eventually arrived at a town far from civilization, Bukit Lawang, an eco-tourist hotspot because of the repatriated-into-the-wild orangutans that populate an ever-shrinking nature reserve there. Farmers have been consuming nature for decades and centuries, an ongoing economically driven problem around the globe, to provide arable land for growing crops and feeding cows for meat and hubris. Rescue elephants that we later encountered in northern Sumatra had rampaged and flattened villages in Banda Aceh, further to the north, the same place that was flattened by a tsunami in 2004, leaving it bare with only extreme-faith to sooth-over the population remaining. The elephants we encountered were rescued from 'death by government decree,' and made to live sporting a tourist-makeover in a land near Bukit Lawang, and distant from elephant ancestor memories. Eco-tourism was able to expose the cruelty

Bali and the Last Wave

When I was younger, the world was a much smaller place. There were neighbors, parents, friends, and my little brother. We lived inside the Green Belt, in Laguna Beach, California. Laguna had a local reputation as an artist’s colony, with festivals and happenings all around town, which was separated from the commercial hubbub to the north, and from the orange grove dotted developments and track-homes to the east, by a vast land of rolling hills and sagebrush. The Green Belt was sanctified as untouchable open-space, even when it was owned by one of the largest development companies in the world, the Irvine Company. My dad worked for them as an urban planner, designing living environments for people moving to California in droves.  My dad was born in California, as was his father, as was I. My first born son was also born in California, but because of instabilities produced by over crowding and commercialization with no end in sight, we left the Pacific Ocean to move far inland to

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,

Bongo, My Right Hand

Cow Secrets —  Abandoned on the streets of Israel as a puppy, our new arrival peered through the neighbor-lady’s fence slats. She worked with the local humane society, placing animals in homes from a nearby shelter. His eyes lit up when he saw Dude, our black Canaani-mix, on our way into the nature reserve for one of our daily walks. I could have sworn I heard him giggle as we passed, like he knew his fate, even before we did. We weren’t looking for another dog, but after moving into a house that could house another dog, and also noticing a general sense of depression from Dude, we found ourselves standing at the neighbor’s fence saying hello to this strange, lanky, white dog with floppy ears and a slovenly loving grin. We talked it over then brought him home for a trial run, which really means that we were all hook, line, and sinker. We named him Bongo after we saw him fly into the air every time he met another friend. “Doing helicopters” became the terminology as he spun 180, 360, an