On the journey from Egypt to Jordan the landscape changes
the lush greens of the Nile delta to the harsh browns
of the Sinai
wilderness. The smooth sandy landscape is punctuated
mountains-- immense sleeping beasts with bony joints
and folds of skin.
Farther south they become more harsh-- brown shards
piercing the horizon.
They have their own austere beauty. This is the wilderness
in which the
children of Israel wandered.
spent an afternoon in the southern resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
enjoyed the beach and snorkeled along a coral reef swarming
exotic fish-- a visual feast, a striking contrast to
the desert palette.
next day we awoke in the surreal dream time of early
morning to climb
Mt. Sinai before sunrise. I remember pausing in the
ascent to look back
and see the trail of lights winding up the trail behind
pilgrims on the journey.
huddled together at the top, straining to see the first
of dawn. There we sang 606; other groups also lifted
atmosphere was still and quiet, expectant waiting.
Sinai we crossed over into Jordan. We spent a fantastic
day at Petra
which proved to be the perfect playground for a bunch
students with tour bus fever. We saw the beautiful Nabatian
other building facades carved into the sandstone and
marvelled at the
fantastic shapes and colors of the rock in the long
canyon leading to the
city. Many of us hiked to an ancient monastery from
when Christianity was
introduced to Petra in the 3rd century. Several of us
hiked to the high
place of sacrifice to watch the sun sink below the sandstone
next two nights we spent in Bedouin tents in Wadi Rum.
We took a
Jeep tour of the area, as well as a camel trek. We enjoyed
food and hospitality in a large common tent. It is here
that we began to
understand why the children of Israel complained in
the wilderness and
longed to return to Egypt. There is a sense of impermanence
the shifting sand dunes and tents blowing in the cold
winds. There is a
harshness to the cold and wind. The red sand is inescapable,
clothes and food. This is also an exciting place of
challenge that I imagine was deeply shaping to the Israelites.
Our last day in Jordan, we travelled to Ammon, stopping
at Mt. Nebo and a
mosaic factory. Today we crossed the border at Allenby
Bridge into West
Bank, excited to enter this new chapter in our journey--
wilderness into Canaan.