It was a gloomier day. The barren Negev must have sucked some our enthusiasm out of us. Either that or we were becoming exhausted from our long days on the road. Nevertheless, Masada was our first stop this day. We hiked up adjacent to the Roman siege ramp. It was quite a hike, but it was by no means daunting by comparison to what we had done on previous days.
This day in particular seemed to stand out from the others. Perhaps it was the overcast weather that had come about. That day it stormed at the Dead Sea. A lifeless land that only manages to see less than 2 in of rain annually. Yet this day was unique, and it was rare opportunity to hear crackling thunder. But fortunately this weather didn't come about until later.
We finally made it to the top of this desert palace. We gathered and had class. Following class, we dispersed. I wandered off alone with every intention on soaking as much of the moment in as I could with all my senses that I could. I explored, took a few photos, until I finally climbed up on top of a high wall to relax and journal. I sat for a bit, and I just stared out over the landscape. I took this picture for documentation, when I began to write in my journal,
"Here I am on my first stop of the day, Masada; a desert palace that towers high over the Dead Sea. This truly was one of Herod's greatest achievements. Today's weather consists of an overcast, gently allowing beams of light to rain down over the hazy mountains, landing on the cerulean waters of the Dead Sea, that glisten upon contact. There are no words. Combine that with the history this place has. Truly Masada has seen highs and lows. Desert palace to mass mortality. And in the midst of the turmoil contained here within these walls, I am at peace."
I was the last to depart from Masada. How could I gauge how impactful a moment of introspection this was for me? It's humbling. There's no sense of distance, there's no sense of depth. Nothing around me towered above me. To feel so detached from the Earth, yet at the same time feel intertwined with the geography; to be part of history and to mourn a great civilization, I say again, there are no words.