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Planning done for the coming week, we leave for the Wall, near the car entrance. 5:30pm and it is well into dark. We meet the sisters from a nearby monastery and a local woman who will be our Arabic teacher. Praying in Arabic they lead us, tracing the foot of the wall, past graffiti and story, to the gates of the monastery and back to the road. We return, standing at the foot of the icon of Mary pasted to the wall as they sing. Under the full moon of January, we are bathed in holy light.

Cross of the Monastery
Cross of the Monastery
Moonlight on Fence at the Foot of the Wall
Moonlight on Fence at the Foot of the Wall
Walking Wall Prayer
Walking Wall Prayer
Wall graffiti
Wall graffiti
Mary's Icon on the Wall
Mary’s Icon on the Wall

More light than Bethlehem. Power is out again as our teacher tells us; Israel says Palestine hasn’t paid its power bill. All around us the settlements (home for Israelis only, illegally set upon Palestinian land, they surround Bethlehem, besieging land and people) radiate light while we return home under the rays of the moon.

Settlement Lights
Settlement Lights
Bethlehem by Moonlight
Bethlehem by Moonlight

Marit makes a warm thick pot of lentil stew for Charlotte, Maggie and me on the gas stove and we chat around the coffee table in the garden room, candlelight and cell phone flashlights helping us find the plates. Eventually the power comes back on again, giving me hope that my clothes (strung on a clothes drying rack over an electric heater) might dry by morning. If not, it is supposed to be a sunny day. One can hope.

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