Going Green

We heard that yonder Jordanian hills are covered with lush, green grass for a brief window of time each spring. And, fortunately for us, the Prophet Muhammad was born in the spring (well, I don't really know when he was born because Muslims frequently use a lunar calendar, which means that each year Muhammad's birthday shifts "forward," according to the Wests' Gregorian calendar. But I bet some Islamic scholar somewhere knows when Muhammad was born in terms of a Gregorian calendar, but I hope he doesn't comment on my blog, because I don't read Arabic so well anymore.

Wouldn't it be cool if you used the lunar calendar to track your birthday? No more being anchored to one season! I'm not complaining about being a summer birthday -- I never had school on my birthday, except that one crappy year when we lived in Salt Lake City and I was in 4th grade and had year-round school and Amber Bills -- my love interest -- said she liked Shaun Stone and not me. Then I bent over to pick up a pencil while waiting in line for Social Studies and my stupid dinosaur shorts that my mom had sewn for me out of cheap fabric from Michael's split down the butt-seam and everyone laughed at me. Thanks a lot mom. And I remember "Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin was really popular at the time, and I heard it on the radio and I thought, "Shut the heck up, Bobby McFerrin. I don't even know what 'litigate' means. I'm freaking 9 years old. I hope you don't win a dumb Grammy." But then he did. And so I kicked the dog, and he died.

All of that actually happened, just not on my birthday. And the dog's death didn't have anything to do with me kicking him. Probably.

So, back to it being cool if your birthday wasn't in the same season every year. Well, maybe it wouldn't be that cool. That was a dumb train of thought. Bad blogger.)

Was that the longest parenthetical citation you've ever seen? I bet you thought I'd forgotten I was in the middle of one, huh? Well I didn't. Stop thinking bad things about me.

Because it was Muhammad's birthday, I got the day off work. In keeping with our family motto, "Carpe diem" (our real family motto is: "That's MINE!" but I want people to think I speak Latin, in addition to poor Arabic), we drove north, stopping for a time in the Dibeen Nature Reserve.

It was a well-forested area, surprisingly clean and well-maintained. Enterprising men from the nearest villages were selling horse rides. Arabic music was spewing from car speakers and boomboxes (they still have those over here) and massive clusters of families were milling about in the clearings and campsites. We slowly rolled through in our hulking SUV, soaking up the stares. "Want a piece of me?!" I hollered through my rolled-down window. Just kidding. I didn't really say that. But it would've been funny if I had. Just kidding. It wouldn't have been funny if I had.

We found a little clearing of our own and let Savannah and Halen scout around a bit. Savannah, pink Barbie backpack hefted over her shoulders, was the intrepid leader of our expedition, stomping through the underbrush and pushing aside small plants and branches, which usually snapped back after her passing and clobbered Halen.

After satisfying our wanderlust at Dibeen, we wound our way north through biblical hills of Gilead, awash in a brief, month-long flash of green. By mid-April they'll be browner than the Cleveland Browns' helmets. Which I guess aren't brown. Why is that? Am I the only one who has ever noticed that? The Cleveland Browns don't where one ounce of brown, except those nasty brown home jerseys they used to where back in the 80s when Bernie Kosar was quarterback and Ernest Byner fumbled every January when they'd play the Broncos. Did you know I'm a font of 80s sports trivia? Am too. Back off.

We eventually ended up at Pella, one of the lesser-known cities of the Decapolis. One of the reasons it's lesser-known could be because it takes ten years to get there if you have kids that want to eat and go potty all the time. And another reason could be because once you get there, it's not that cool. But it's free. I'll give it that.
These guys didn't think the whole antiquities thing was that exciting, so they strung a volleyball net up across the court of the 5th century Byzantine church and played a killer tournament. They were pretty good.

But not as good as the girl I dated my freshman year of college. She was what we called a "Foamer," meaning that she foamed at the mouth when she played volleyball. Normally fairly mild-mannered, she was nobody's friend on the court. "C'MON!" she would scream if I missed a dig, which I usually did, because I don't know what a dig is. "Hmph!" she would breathe in disgust whenever I hit the ball into the little stream running through Heritage Halls, which I did a lot, because I suck at volleyball. She made up for it though by not dumping me while I was on my mission. Unless you count that one time that she dumped me while I was on my mission. But I usually don't count that.

After watching the volleyball tourney, and letting Halen herd the sheep, we started home again, all the richer for having discovered Jordan's green side. Sorry. That's the best ending I can come up with.