Hurts So Good

Liz Finnegan writes:

Megiddo is awesome.  And so far it feels like I’ve been here a month, even though I’ve been here barely 2 days – and that’s a good thing.  The Kibbutz is beautiful, the air is clean, the dogs are friendly (there are easily 10 that wander around and beg for food or pats).  The Tel is dirty and hot, but wonderful, black snot and all.  My favorite meal is breakfast – we walk down from the tel and sit in the shade of tall, sparse trees.  Picnic tables dot the little area and we eat cucumbers and tomatoes and eggs and coco-puff-like cereal.  Since we arrive at the Tel at 5am, that means we’ve already cleared three hours worth of dirt by the time we hit that small clearing, and the down time is like a breath of fresh air – literally.

Three things are particularly noteworthy.  Bucket lines.  The Pub.  The Dirt.  The dirt is everywhere.  I am not sure what I expected when digging dirt…but it’s more than I expected.  We joke about the black lung.  My brand new shirts now look like a three-year-old finger-painted me with mud.  But despite the dirt, or perhaps because of it – clearing it, searching through it for bones, flint and pottery, brushing it, hauling it away…it’s refreshing to be so physical and even the smallest finds send me into paroxysms of excitement.  On our first day, my square-mate found part of a basalt mortar.  We found teeth and a jaw of some animal and TONS of pottery sherds.  In a little way, the dirt was like a badge of honor for beginning our little adventure.  Hauling all that dirt away though, is tough.  No lie, my arms feel like noodles and my biceps are throbbing.  But our area – Area H – or to those of us who work there, Area Gaitch (for reasons that should be obvious) has a sing-song cheer that we sing when we begin to haul the buckets to the drop point [see the YouTube video for a demonstration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8r5ywcN94c].  Being sore is a microcosm of the whole process.  You can complain about the pain, but you loved getting there and you love the pain afterwards because you know it’s because you worked your butt off and made progress.  Each bucket of dirt is a bucket more that you know about a site.  And I think that’s cool.

As for the pub…don’t be stupid.  The 4th of July was fun, but even midnight bedtimes are tough and hangovers….in the tel are wildly unpleasant.  Once again though, I think it was worth it.

I’m having fun.  More fun than I ever thought.  I’m glad I’m here.

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