I felt like a kid again as Ram and I rode bikes outside of Kibbutz Erez. Though as a kid I never rode a electric bicycle which is what I was on, and it’s incredibly awesome! With one push of my foot I got a boost that pushed me ten times farther. The bike is battery powered and charges from your peddling. You can ride by the battery power alone but it’s best to peddle also that way it won’t die.
Cycling between wheat fields on an old beat up road reminded me of my childhood out in the country. I felt as I used to spending summers outside in the hills around my house. Not a care in the world, just exploring and coming up with random ideas to occupy the day. Along the road Ram spotted an old woven bag. He ripped a long strip off of the bag and tied the bikes together (Ram was riding a regular bike). It was genius! With the possibility of some seriously scrapped up hands and knees (or worse), like most good ideas you have as a kid. With the bikes tied together I pulled Ram back to the Kibbutz. We switched places for a bit but I was much to freaked out to be the one in back. Our rope was pretty short so it was hard to keep from smashing into the front bike. Somehow we made it safely back without crashing.
Ram’s brother Danny lives in Erez, a stones through from the Gaza strip. Other than the occasional evacuation, the nearby underground terrorist tunnels and as many bomb shelters as houses, it’s a really peaceful place. It has a very small country town feel.
We took a walk with Danny and his daughter Gye to a lookout point that looks over Gaza. It’s hard to imagine that in one moment this place can go from calm and peaceful to a war zone. They live there for many reasons but one big one is because the government helps people live in conflict areas. Rent is cheaper and building a house is cheaper. Danny is currently having a house built there and normally you have to be pretty wealthy in Israel to build a house.
On our way down from the lookout point Ram found a peacock feather. It was a short brown one, not too exciting… but because there are peacocks roaming around here we went searching for others. I thought it would be awesome to find a tail feather. We took a deep sandy road that lead through a small field of random junk. Old tree houses hung crooked in a few trees and below them scraps of metal and wood were almost invisible in tall green grass. Among the junk Ram found a big piece of dark blue satin that he wrapped around his neck like a cape. It must have brought good luck because not a minute later we found a big flock of peacocks. As we crept closer they split into two groups. Ram followed one and I followed the another. Lurking after the birds I noticed one retreat up a tree. I was surprised. I didn’t know peacocks could get into trees, or fit into trees. I hoped a tail feather would fall from him, but it didn’t. The only thing falling from him was poop as he just jumped higher and higher up the tree. The desire for a feather faded as I stared at the huge bird. He was incredibly gorgeous. With his dark blue neck that sparkled in the sun and majestic long tail it was hard to believe he exists in nature. How can something so colorful and elaborate be natural? It was like seeing a unicorn, so mythical and magical. I felt a little foolish for wanting to steal one of it’s tail feathers.
It’s not nearly as magical when the feather isn’t on the bird. The magic was in the combination of all the parts.