As a child I daydreamed about living in the endless woods behind my house. The notion of living with the land and creatures, to be enveloped in the greatness of Mother Earth, gripped me and sparked my imagination.
My family instilled these values in me and I was lucky to spent many weekends camping, fishing, and canoeing with my family. Highlights of my childhood consisted of: watching my father build fires, return the smaller fish back into the river, and teach me how to canoe; my mother, a petite and powerful woman showing me how to pitch a tent and gently appreciate all creatures from bull frogs and salamanders to deer and foxes; convincing my step-dad to help me build a teepee in the flush forest behind my house, where well-worn Mexican blankets covered the small circular dirt floor and just outside of the teepee entrance I carefully shaped old bricks into a makeshift fireplace.
We're kicking up the dusty dirt from the lowest place on earth, just south of the Dead Sea, walking towards the moonlit mass of Masada. My breath is short as the dry air sucks away moisture from my lungs and skin. We briskly take to the rocky, snaking trail encircled by dune mountains that trick the eye. The deceptively massive peaks give the illusion of closeness, as if we could simply reach out and grasp the steep cliffs, the sharp overhangs, the bulging rocks. Yet as we begin the rigorous ascent, we soon realize that we are far, far away from the top of this mountain fortress. Read more