Nature knows no borders
Traveled thousands of miles
Inching my way
Between mothers, children, prayer books
Vying for space, so that I may touch
Your precious stones
Stones that have heard millions of tears
Stones that hold hope and anguish
Weeping and praying surround me
And I cannot hear my own sigh as I ask
Will you negotiate?
as I fold my scrap of paper
to search for
a vacant space I ask
like so many before me
Can you make a miracle?
– Jerusalem 2013
Dawn has just broken. I’m walking along the beach, inhaling whiffs of sea spray. White Rock’s lights are fading in the distance, and ocean and skies are turning blue together against the backdrop of a glowing sunrise.
The hotel manager told me that if I rose early I would catch all of nature’s beauties. I’m not disappointed. Harbor seals are out fishing, birds of all shapes and sizes have begun their morning songs and skim the ocean for breakfast. A mother porpoise and her baby are playing, and fishing boats are gliding smoothly over the waves.
The only sounds are the whistling of crickets, high-pitched cries of seagulls and the rhythmic hiss of the surf. Once in a while, my laptop informs me of a new message but, fortunately, nature wins. I have the discipline to ignore it; nature wins.
This little corner of the world spells P-E-A-C-E.
The hotel has changed hands many times in the 30 years I’ve been coming here. Every visit has been different, with a purposeful or personal story.
Nature, though, is always consistent. Out in the natural world, I receive solace and my writer’s block dissolves, at least 99 percent of the time. This year, writing about peace feels like the one percent block. And an impossible task begs a purposeful visit.
The scenery is breathtaking, except for the tall unsightly steel object placed in the middle of water, a physical manifestation of the boundary between countries. I note that the boats are sailing to either side of the eyesore.
In the natural world, the skies and seas are open for birds and other creatures. No passports or border patrols needed. I am reminded of a 2012 BBC travel article, titled “Where birds know no borders.”
“Unrestricted movement between Israel and the Palestinian territories is not always possible for those on two feet,” the article reads. “But if you shift your gaze upwards, something entirely different comes into focus.”
A migration of a billion birds belonging to more than 540 species traverses through the skies each autumn and spring. Both governments have set up centres for avid birders who come from all over the world to see this spectacular sight.
Could this be a miracle, like the one I asked for last year at the Wall?
As I move my gaze away from the metal border structure and back to reality, I wonder if nature, prayer, music and dance can help us engage and connect with the world.
Can we create more connected global communities? Can we uncover commonalities that reduce conflicts? Can we build more peaceful nations? Miracles happen daily in nature. Look no further than the dove.
– Blaine, Wash., 2014
Jenny Wright is a writer, music therapist, children’s musician and recording artist.