LEAVING FOR JERUSALEM
Last night in Florida it was nearly a new moon. I went driving for a time, and at a stoplight I looked up to the sky.
There between clouds was a small sliver of moon—the sliver that comes before or after a new moon I do not know.
But so quickly it sent me
back to that night when we three lay breathless in the shivering starlight: perched just at
the edge of those two wonders, the canyon and the
unobstructed sky. There above us was the Milky Way, streaking
out like incandescent footsteps on the pathways of eternity. And there below us
was the Colorado, tearing always
downward toward the planet's iron core.
I feel as though I am already leaving. There is much to love here, but there is also much to fear. What I love: century-old
oak trees, magnolias
that blossom even into late summer, sunlight at almost every stretch of every day. What I fear:
the complacency of those who have stayed too long,
the forgetting of the many ways to leave, the resignation of
remaining. It is a place of passing dreams, of intoxication, of longing for the real
cities of the north. We are given lives
by our own choosing: even in our indecision we declare our desires.
I do not know what will become of me after a year in Jerusalem. But you will come to see me soon. I fear and expect that
I will be transformed: it
will be difficult for me to live beside Zion for a year and not be changed. Though Zion does not
spread its luminescence through the midnight sky as
does our galaxy, still we will remember through the vanishing
twilight of our old age the days when we stood on the hill and looked out to Jerusalem,
its walls built up in silence past