Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

In the Old City as in Life, We Travel Together

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

In the Old City as in Life, We Travel Together

Article excerpt

It was Friday afternoon and our small tour group had just finished the Via Dolorosa in the Old City of Jerusalem. We decided to leave through the Damascus Gate. This would entail passing through the market section of the Muslim Quarter, which, like such markets anywhere in the world, was a glorious mix of sights, sounds and smells.

As the streets narrowed and rose toward the gate, the press of bodies became thicker, the pace slower. Numerous arches overhead created a visual darkness that shifted attention to other senses. I became separated from my group and thus, freed from concern about anyone else, was able to give myself to the experience.

In front of me for a while was a little girl with dark, inquisitive eyes. She looked up and back at me briefly, and I smiled and lightly touched her hair before a shift in the configuration of the crowd took her away. On my right was a very short old woman, veiled and gowned from head to foot. She used her elbows and her packages to push her way through, creating a wake behind her in which several younger women trailed.

Glued to my back was a tall man. I could not see him and I had no idea whether he was enjoying or merely tolerating this accidental physical intimacy with a female body, but I can attest that-this contact did not lessen in the slightest for the 15 minutes it took us to proceed through the labyrinth leading to the gate.

The strangest and most moving encounter took place with the man to my immediate left. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.