illustration by Avi Katz
We passed him as we trudged up an earthen path in search of a Bronze Age site north of Montpellier in southern France. He had wispy hair and the soft contours of a man grandchildren love to cling to, but the steady stride of a good walker. Giving us a sideways glance, he walked past us under the oak branches that roofed the trail. But when my daughter, Mizmor, crouched down and exclaimed, in Hebrew, about a patch of wild thyme, he turned back in his tracks.
“So you, too, are seeking your roots?”
Mizmor and I looked at each other and the other members of our party.
“We came to see the ancient village,” I said.
“Oh yes. Down there. You’re just two minutes away. But it’s closed.”
“Closed? But I thought it’s just some ruins out in the open.”