Dangerously Daydreaming

"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible." ~ T. E. Lawrence

At The End Of The World: Tel Megiddo

If you’re new to Dangerously Daydreaming I’d like to offer you a very warm welcome and quick explanation: I went on a humanitarian aid trip to Israel back in November and am still relaying bit-by-bit the tales of that adventure.

After I posted the photo of Tel Megiddo on Friday I realized it would make for the perfect post today if I told you all about it!

Our first day in Israel was a whirlwind of activity. After taking the red-eye from London, we arrived in Tel Aviv early in the morning and it was off to get our first glimpse of the Mediterranean Sea and the ruins of Caesarea. By mid-afternoon we were off to see Tel Megiddo – a city of great strategic value over the ages that overlooks the Jezreel Valley at the head of Carmel Ridge.

The city was built on a hilltop and as we trekked the well worn gravel trail I soaked up the sunshine that beat down overhead. There was a good wind sweeping over the hilltop that waved palm tree fronds to and fro and cooled us perfectly, acclimated as we were to Washington’s rainy autumn. In no time, we had reached the main gate of the ruined city. Three layers of stone evidenced that this gate had been destroyed and rebuilt over the centuries. The gate had three sections we had to pass through, a strategic function that would have funnelled any invading armies as they entered so that defenders wouldn’t be overrun.

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We were shown the remnants of stables built during the reign of Ahab complete with mangers hewn from stone – enough space to stable hundreds of horses. And the view of the Jezreel Valley below us was all-encompassing. A haze from the heat of the day had settled over the valley but the view still stretched for miles all around with only the Carmel Mountain Range at our backs.

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Some of the city was still in the process of being excavated by archeologists and was cordoned off to keep us out but we could look into the dig areas. A huge stone table rested ominously in a dig site and we were told that it had once been a place for human sacrifice during the Canaanite era. In another spot a city granary had been unearthed and even had steps curling around both sides of the well-like structure to allow access to the grain stored within.

Tel Megiddo

We learned of the many battles that had taken place near Tel Megiddo, of it’s strategic importance along the trade route that ran north and south, and how the city’s name of “Har Megiddo” (Hebrew for Mount of Megiddo) was associated with Armageddon and a final, apocalyptic battle that some say will take place there. From Egypt’s ancient Thutmose III, to Israel’s B.C. King Saul, to England’s WWI General Allenby – Megiddo has served as a critical point in warfare within the region. It was chilling to see how such forethought, strategy, and planning had gone into this one city. It held a place of great significance in history where powerful kings had fallen, victories and defeats of nations had occurred, and where some mark the end of this world. How could we be anything by inspired by this crucial and sobering place?

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Our last stop was down, down, down into the earth to walk a tunnel that had been bored through rock and lead to a pool that was the city’s water source. The climate of the region has changed so much over the millenia that this “pool” of water has been reduced to more of a slimy puddle. We emerged from the tunnel, climbed the stairway and got to walk the perimeter of the city before leaving.

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Tel Megiddo was phenomenal to explore but more than anything I’m still amazed by the importance it has played in history and continues to play even now as archeologists continue digging and discover more about the past. And then there’s the little thing of the future and this final battle. Could such an event really happen there?

Oh, and before I go, some exciting news: I’ve been featured as a guest blogger! The wonderful Ranting Chef has been kind enough to highlight my Butternut Squash Mac’n’Cheese recipe over at his blog. Pat is an excellent chef with some fantastic recipes and I’m so honored that he let me share in the love of food over at his place. Check it out and say “hi” for me!

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14 comments on “At The End Of The World: Tel Megiddo

  1. ethelthedean
    January 7, 2013

    Amazing Audrey! I feel warmer just looking at these photos. :)

    And there really is something to be said for those places that literally seethe history – it’s humbling to think of all the lives, events, tragedies, and victories that have taken place on the ground on which you stand.

    Thanks for sharing this! xx

    • Audrey
      January 8, 2013

      Ah, thank you, mi amiga!

      It’s so surreal to be in those places, knowing so much has happened and you feel almost like you’re walking on hallowed ground. I’m not sure what I think of that end-of-the-world stuff but it was kind of crazy to think on all of that while we were wandering around too!

      Big hugs to you and stay warm with this drizzly business…

  2. Tori Nelson
    January 7, 2013

    How neat to walk through such a historic place!

    • Audrey
      January 8, 2013

      It really was an adventure! That whole part of the world is so full of history, it dazzles my brain. :)

  3. Denise Hisey
    January 8, 2013

    Hi Audrey, I found you through Danny’s site and noticed your comment about the Seahawks. (Go Hawks!!!)
    I love your pictures of this trip! That must have been incredible! I have a feeling I’m going to love your blog! ;-)

    • Audrey
      January 8, 2013

      Denise! Heck yes, GO HAWKS! The game on Sunday was in the epic category, yes? :)
      Thanks for stopping by again, I’ve been behind on the ol’ blog but I’ll be coming over for a visit to your space today!

  4. storiesbywilliams
    January 10, 2013

    Awesomest post ever! And if this doesn’t get freshly pressed, the people who run this site are criminal scumbags. But don’t tell them I said that, I want an FP one of these days. I digress, I was very stoked to hear you visited this place. I’ve been obsessed with the place since I learned the term Armageddon was linked to it and I’ve tried to work it into fiction again and again, not yet successfully. Thanks for posting pics too, they look magnificent!

    • Audrey
      January 11, 2013

      Oh, if only it would be Freshly Pressed! You’re getting my hopes up. :)
      Yes, the history of it all, the significance of this place does lend well to the SciFi genre with the apocalyptic prophecies. If you wanted a slightly more modern perspective on warfare at Megiddo there’s always the General Allenby stuff to research. He used the city as a strategic location to fight off the Turks during WWI.
      I really hope you get to go and see it for yourself though. :)

      • storiesbywilliams
        January 11, 2013

        Oh yes, I know about WWI. Military history is like a drug for me, like a thick cake laced with champagne! In this case, the champagne would be the sheer curiosity about ages past, the very urge to know, know, know!

        Sorry, that got a bit out there. Got any more travel stories and pics? Pray tell of Tel Aviv!

      • Audrey
        January 11, 2013

        Ha, I love the rant! A man after my own heart. My addiction is WWII history, so I understand completely. Biographies, documentaries, and I also get into historical fiction on that era.

        There are many more stories and pics to come but not so much from Tel Aviv. The only times that we went to Tel Aviv we were doing aid work on the streets so I wasn’t able to take a lot of cool photos. Such a bummer, but better to not get stabbed for catching a drug deal on camera. The city has so much more going on, but we were staying 90 minutes north in Haifa.

      • storiesbywilliams
        January 11, 2013

        Haifa? The old city? Woohoo! Where else did you see, go, take pics of? Tyre? The ancient Phoenician city that Alexander laid siege to? Okay, I will stop dropping names now, it’s getting silly. We should talk WWII some time. Which is your favorite theater/aspect/personality?

      • Audrey
        January 11, 2013

        Haifa is awesome, so beautiful and hilly and right next to the Med. We also stopped into Capernaum, the ruins of Caesarea, Daliyat al-Carmel (a Druze village), Majdal al-Shams (near Mt. Hermon), and then of course Akko, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem. On my previous trip to Israel we also got to stay in Tiberias, gorgeous spot! There will plenty more posts and photos from the trip. :)
        For WWII I’m most intrigued by the European theatre: Normandy, the Battle of Britain, even the Russian resistance interests me. And I’m addicted to the music and fashion of the era. A lot of my “going out” clothes have a 1940’s flair. What draws you to WWI history?

      • storiesbywilliams
        January 11, 2013

        WWI? I’d say the Canadian Expeditionary Force and its exploits, the Newfoundland Regiment, but also the non-Canadian stuff such as the social impact of the war, the causes, the background, the Battle of the Marne, the way it ended and how that immediately sowed the seeds of the next one. As for WWII, the Eastern Front is a huge interest, but the Western Front is like candy! The Pacific Theater is also interesting, thought not on the same order as the rest to me. I REALLY want to do the battlefields tour for 2014 with my pa, who is also obsessed and has been able to talk about nothing but since he got back from doing it last year.

  5. LAMarcom
    April 4, 2014

    During my first R&R (spent mostly in Tel Aviv–Nov ’77), I took a tour of Megiddo. I still remember that day. It was wonderful. I found a copy of James Michener’s “The Source” for sale at my hotel. Loved that book. I was really into the history of the region back then. (still am in fact).

    Haifa is great too. My work took me there many times.
    Did you make it down to Elait? That is where I first learned to scuba dive.

    Sounds like TA has gotten worse as far as crime. When I was there burglaries were the biggest problem (I had a flat in town with my Moroccan girlfriend, since I was in-town at least twice a week) We had some stuff stolen once.

    Great post!
    And yes, should be Freshly Pressed!
    Cheers,
    Lance

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