He fumbled with the pages flipping back and forth, trying to find the little black letters that synced with what he recited in his head. Focusing almost too hard, he could not quite catch up to where everyone else seemed to be, because he could not concentrate. Little monsters behind his eyes swayed his attention from the songs of praise filling his ears, to her exposed ankle just beyond his reach, to an unfamiliar word in the heavy book that weighted his hands, to the breath of perfume far enough away which he could not quite savor.

It must have been hot and muggy that afternoon, walking down to the river Jordan. Dirt scratching between their toes and thirst cracking their sunburnt lips. The tour guide raised his toasted arm again over the heads of the crowd, to direct the exhausted stragglers on the right path. A few older women sat down on a rock, complaining about how long this was taking, and what else they should have done this morning.

Cobblestone over cobblestone. Pacing steadily over the settled dirt of a thousand, maybe a million other sandals. Cracks filled up by particles of beach, mountain and desert, pressed deep into wrinkles the of this ancient street. My own black shoe powdered with the remnants of another world, stirred for a moment by every step I take. Smoky ashy remnants of a sudden volcanic eruption, withering olive leaves rotting in a quiet garden, pulverized rubble of a temple where God once dwelt. Dull, chalky, dirty history walking along the path with me, on me, part of me during my short morning walk.