THE WAY TO THE SPRING: Herding Goats in Umm al-Kheir

With a stick, Suleiman traced a circle in the dirt to represent the route we had just trekked. He drew a straight line across it to indicate the far shorter path we could have taken, the one he had used for years before the settlement’s expansion. “Where will we go?” he asked. He pointed up to the sun and sky, as if he might find pasture there, or as if God might have an answer. We walked on along a slender strip of dirt between two fields of wheat. On top of the hill to our left sprawled five aluminum-sided barns ringed by barbed wire — a dairy farm owned by settlers. If we got too close, Hassan said, they would come down or send the police. So we zigzagged on across the dry, hard land, avoiding one obstacle here, another there. The goats were sneezing dirt.

The Way to the Spring, Chapter 9, pp. 300 – 301

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