The Dan Reserve is one of the most beautiful places in the world ... at least as far as I am concerned. Walking along paths that meander through lush foliage and crossing bridges arching over wildly rushing water is about as close to heaven as I can possibly imagine. There's a spot just off from the welcome center -- a bridge -- that I declare is one of my favorites in all the land. There, water which was at one time snow fallen on Mount Hermon, barrels its way toward the Jordan River. It sounds to me like the sound of 10,000 armies. It is cold. Invigorating.
But then there is this other spot. Just a ways up a path where sunlight and shadow dance as if they are old lovers and birds whistle the sweetest of tunes for them, we come up on a place called The Garden of Eden.
Ironically, we saw a man and a woman sitting on a bench there. Miriam turned to me and said, "Hey, Eva. It's Adam and Eve."
We gathered there in the coolness of the location. Sharon got a wild idea to take off her shoes, sit on a bench perched on the water, and stick her tootsies in. Ellie and I decided to follow suit.
The water was cooooooold; we shared a laugh together. Not to mention a few photos.
Miriam explained to us why this area is called The Hill of the Judge. We listened intently ... and the story was so wonderfully put. I couldn't help but notice the sound of water trickling over pebbles. It was like music. God's symphony.
We kept going, though I could have sat there for hours. But there was more to see. The High Place of Dan, where man worshiped against the expressed wishes of God. The altar is no longer there, of course, but the steps to its highest point are. We sat upon them and listened to Miriam teach us. Then a couple with two small children arrived. We asked the husband to take our picture and he did. Finally we climbed the steps and stood on what once was the "storage unit" for the priests. I pointed northward and said, "That's Lebanon."
"Where?" Larry asked.
"Throw a rock," I answered with a smile. "We're that close."
Everyone was amazed. We took some more pictures and then we climbed down. We continued on the path until we came to the ruins of what was once the city of Dan. It's high fortress walls. It's gates. It amazes me each time I come here. People lived here. They fought here. They raised their children here and they died here. And now, here we are, just passing through.
I guess, in a way, they were too.
Just outside the gates I turned and looked up the road. My eyes climbed high and higher until they rested on an old Crusader fort called Nimrod's Fortress. I'd gone there in 2007. Impressive, indeed. But now ... now we had somewhere else to go. First lunch. Then ... my return to the place where I once fell ... and my life changed forever.