Between Jericho and Jordan

There’s a path that leads to the known unknown. I know that the path leads to Jericho, but I’ll never know Jericho the way the way I know Herzliya or Haifa or Hadera—I’ll never know it with my own eyes. I know the sign, slightly ominous, leading into forbidden land. Yet the same sign marks that if Jericho isn’t your path, maybe Jordan is. Across the entrance to Jericho, after a strip of I90, through the prickly dust and trucks and to a familiar post. It’s Russian it’s Arab it’s Israeli, all working together without tension, just procedure. Belts off, shoes switched, phone and wallet on the table. Tag flashed, gate lifted, hand waved. Soldiers inspect, shit is shot, cigarettes smoked, and coffee drank. Flag down a car, hop in, wind down through constellations of stone and sediment. Another gate, another wave. A rotary, a roundabout, around and out. Or maybe you go straight, past more gates, another, and over and you’re there. I can’t talk about what’s there, but I know better than I know about the there in Jericho. I know there are good people and sugary tea and strong coffee. The same scenery, copied, as if the river between were a mirror at midpoint, projecting the same to both sides. The same stone and sediment, valleyed, volleyed. If you didn’t know, you could mistake Jericho for Jordan.

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