A Moment

AJ Sherman writes:

It’s a dark quiet morning, and rays of sunshine are just beginning to shine through and clear the haze present over the Jezreel Valley. The sultry violets and dark blues of the night are falling victim to the advance of the proceeding yellows and reds of morning light. We are all climbing Tel Megiddo to wage our war on dirt. We begin morning tasks such as “hoisting the sail” (AKA the precious shade), retrieving water and cleaning our respective loci for work to once again commence at all of of the other areas all around the Tel. Here as the sun begins its assault and mounts its place in the sky, I am here soaking in this peaceful moment and clearing my locus of the stones that once was at some point a wall.
Here in my hole I reflect. I am looking back on all of the places, things and people this year abroad has brought me and in my opinion nothing compares to this experience. To repeat (as I have done with most of my new friends that I have met on the dig here); I have been living in Israel, more specifically the city of Jerusalem, since August 2009, attending classes at the Hebrew University’s Rothberg International School and now I am happy to be apart of the excavation at Megiddo. If I were curt I would simply say I have changed a lot; however, as my mother will tell you, I am anything but curt or concise. I have endured many experiences here in Israel over the past year, but for the purposes of a short blog I will try to be brief in the thoughts I have been thinking about all day in my hole at Area K Locus 5:

An Assertion: Israel is a place for those seeking answers to find more questions than those one originally believed to have. After leaving Israel in 2006 on NFTY’s Adventure Tour, one of the most important factors I looked for out of college was the opportunity to return to Israel for a longer period of time, participate in an archaeological dig, write music, and learn hebrew. As my hebrew speaking will reflect (not necessarily my hebrew grades), I can now carry out conversation, get around and haggle. Musically, I achieved my goal of completing an album of all the music I have written since being in High School. Finally, as made apparent by my writing of this blog I am, for the first time, on an archaeological dig.

Two Questions: What I am going to do, How did I get here? Good questions. When I arrived from Jerusalem on Saturday to the meeting place for the bus to Kibbutz Ramat HaShofet, the next and final chapter of my stay in Israel had begun. I had originally learned about this dig through my best friend and girlfriend Samantha Shabman, who had shown me Eric Cline’s “Last Lecture” on the internet. She also informed me of her friend Jen who had participated in this dig and had a blast. In my application I got very lucky and received a spot that had opened up. I am truly honored to take part in this dig and remain so everyday. The reality is finally setting in that I am returning home in two short weeks, after a year in Israel. My plan of action right now is simply just to put my head down, dig in, and focus on classes I need and the bare necessities until I graduate and then go from there. When you’re 21 like me, I guess it’s hard to keep the future, grad school, the real world, and my ever-receding hairline out of my thoughts. These calm still mornings digging at Area K are some of the most peaceful moments one can experience and these minutia of which I have no direct control at present seem to fade like the wispy clouds in the morning sun.

An Observation: Archaeology is the one job where you are up before the sun is. This morning, after thinking about this blog entry, I was working on “articulating” a wall, in order to remove its stones for further archaeological excavation. I launched my pick axe at one particular stone. In a matter of seconds I saw rapid intense movement where the stone once sat; I thought it was a scorpion, beetle or spider. Seconds later this creature leaped upon my chest. I screamed like a little girl of course, and seconds later flung it off of me. This story, however comical, has relevance beyond this. You can think and go over every detail in your life, but you can’t prepare for everything. No matter how existential my thoughts in my hole. I am here taking it all in, and in a second anything can happen. In five hours I’ll be drinking in this sunrise I began describing, more rousing than morning coffee, more satisfying than steak and eggs, and more enlightening than the morning paper.


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