Two hard things happened after Bernie’s major stroke. The first was coming to grips with the fact that our life won’t be what it was. The second was bearing witness to the things my husband wanted or needed, and that I could not provide. In face of suffering and disappointment, my big challenge is not to react. There are unfulfilled wants and needs, curves no one expected. Cultivating curiosity about what’s around that bend has never been easy for me.” | “I have walked dogs while leaves are falling over many years. Stanley will be 13 shortly and I find myself wondering if this is his last fall, just as I wondered a few months ago if that was his last summer and I will probably ask the same question about winter when we walk on the snow. And I wonder what it would be like one day for both of us to lie down in the woods because we’re tired or our legs hurt, and never get up again.” | “Years ago I took a course on how to raise money. I was told that, when meeting a potential donor, the hardest thing isn’t to ask for a specific donation, the hardest thing is to ask and THEN SHUT UP. I can apply that lesson to the most mundane of circumstances: “How are you?” I ask someone. And now, Eve, shut up and listen.” | “Bernie’s physical therapist doesn’t want Bernie to favor the left leg, which he feels, over the right, which he can’t feel after the stroke: “Don’t stand on the leg you know can hold you,” he tells him. “Stand on the leg you don’t know can hold you.” Let go of what you know, the working limb that gives you confidence, and lean on the other side, the side you don’t trust, that you can barely make out is there.” | “I didn’t grow up on Mother Goose rhymes, I grew up on my mother’s stories of the Shoah and what she had had to do to survive. These were tales of death but also grit and courage, and they’ve influenced me from the time I was a girl.” | “Bernie was about to go out on an errand yesterday when I saw him standing at the door, his funny hat framing a sweet and happy face. I tried to capture the image right there, not a great photo by any means, just a casual, intimate moment that I may go back to years hence to remember how happy we were.” | “Nothing deters Stanley and me from our daily expeditions to the woods, not even shooting and the occasional glimpses of men in hunting gear with guns.” | “I am an immigrant, having come to the US at the age of 7. I remember tiptoeing silently down the hallway back then and listening to my parents talk in their bedroom about money, about how to pay bills and afford schoolbooks and clothes. Often the words they repeated were: What will happen?”


50 years have passed since Apollo 11 landed on the moon.

It was the end of the 60s, a time of rebellion and rage for some, confusion for me.  Richard Nixon was President. Technically, I lived at my parents’ home, planning and plotting how I could leave, which was not easy in a religious Jewish home where girls were not allowed to leave the house till they were married. I worked full-time, went to college full-time at nights, and within a month of the lunar landing I’d be physically gone as well.

One day I received a call from an old high school friend who was studying up at Barnard. “I have something to tell you and then ask a favor, “ says she, “but you have to swear you won’t tell anyone.”

Instantly I’m intrigued. Laurie (not her real name) was everybody’s idea of a good girl. Not for her being sent to the principal’s office (a frequent hangout of mine), not for her getting suspended and even kicked out of home. Was she flunking out of Barnard? Was she pregnant?

“I met a guy in Columbia,” she says, “and we fell in love. He’s Palestinian.”


“He’s such a nice man.”

“You fell in love with a Palestinian?”

“They’re refugees. His family lives in Jordan.”

I was dumbstruck. I wasn’t even sure what a Palestinian was. Jordan had controlled the entire West Bank till Israel had conquered it just 2 years earlier. In 1969 there was no such thing as Palestine, and no such thing as Palestinians; that was to come later. But I knew that Palestinians were Arabs. The odds of a Jew dating a Palestinian were lower than reaching the moon. Only here was my old friend, Laurie, who never missed a homework assignment in four years of high school and never disturbed anyone’s equanimity over a span of two decades, falling in love with a Palestinian!

“He went home to Jordan and is coming back tomorrow,” she says on the phone. “I don’t have a car, but you do. If I meet you at Kennedy Airport tomorrow, would you pick him up along with me and take us both back to school?”

“Sure,” I told her. I’d have to check if I could get my mother’s car (lying through my teeth about why I needed it), but wild horses couldn’t prevent me from seeing this.

The next day was July 20. In early evening I drove to Kennedy Airport, parked the car, and found Laura in the TWA terminal that was shaped like a bird. An enormous screen hovered over the inside of the terminal and I looked at it briefly. The Eagle had landed, but Neil Armstrong hadn’t yet stepped onto the moon, not that it mattered. I mean, how could landing on the moon compare with a nice Jewish girl like Laurie falling in love with a Palestinian?

I peppered her with questions—How did you meet? When? Where?—and deduced that yes, she was definitely sleeping with him. Nobody knew except for her, and now me. We waited for the flight to arrive, leaning against the rail as she implored me to silence. We ignored Neil Armstrong taking those first steps and instead stared breathlessly at the flights monitor.

“He landed!” she finally announced. She didn’t mean the astronauts.

I hurried after her as she made her way towards the door from which he’d emerge. If Armstrong had come face to face with a green moonie, it would be nothing like my encounter with Laurie’s Palestinian lover.

He came out of customs and he and Laura embraced. She introduced me briefly, said he was tired, and suggested we go to the car. Above us the two astronauts walked on the moon; we barely gave them a glance.

My mother’s car was a red Dodge convertible, but Laura asked me to keep the roof down. New York City streets were empty that night; I remember driving up one of the avenues on the West Side and making every green light for a 2-mile stretch while Laura and her friend necked on the back seat. Did she tell him that I was born in Israel, I wondered.

I dropped them off at the Columbia campus. I barely received a thank you, but I didn’t mind. I’d seen something far out, unimaginable, and felt strangely grateful.

“Did you see the landing?” my father asked me upon my late return.

I nodded.

He shook his head. “Will wonders never cease!”


The Dogs of the Kiskadee Hills: Hunt for the Lynx begins a trilogy about a society of dogs after humans have destroyed themselves and much of the world. Living with their families and clans in the Kiskadee Hills, they’ve developed over generations a rich tradition and way of life, and have prospered. But now, an unknown killer is butchering the Kisdees of the Hills.

Academy Award-winning actor Jeff Bridges says: “You will never look at dogs the same again. Eve Marko gives us a story that explores the path that life on our planet has taken, and asks what your role in that course might be.”


Eve Marko - Bearing Witness

To bear witness to anything is to be as close to it as possible.

It’s not to read books or see movies about it, it’s not to have an opinion or tell a story. It’s to let go of all ideas about it—be in the space of not-knowing—and simply be there, up close and deeply personal.

Eve has been involved with the Zen Peacemaker Order’s Bearing Witness Retreats—in places of suffering and conflict since her first visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

There have been 20 retreats at the site of those concentration camps since, along with retreats in Bosnia, Rwanda and the Black Hills of South Dakota, near the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Upcoming Bearing Witness Retreats:

Bosnia, May 2016 (Please email for details)


Eve Marko

Eve Marko is a writer of fiction and nonfiction, head teacher at the Green River Zen Center in Massachusetts, and a Founding Teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Order.

She has trained spiritually-based social activists and peacemakers in the US, Europe and the Middle East alongside her husband, Bernie Glassman, and has been a Spiritholder at retreats bearing witness to genocide at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Rwanda, the Black Hills in South Dakota, and Bosnia. Before that she worked at the Greyston Mandala for a decade, which provides housing, child care, jobs, and AIDS-related medical services in Yonkers, New York.

Eve’s articles on social activists have appeared in the magazines Tikkun and Shambhala Sun, and her collection for lay Zen practitoners, The Book of Householder Koans, will come out in late 2016. Her great love, Hunt for the Lynx, the first in her fantasy trilogy, The Dogs of the Kiskadee Hills, will come out in early 2016.

“When I was a young girl my dream was to be a hermit, live alone, and write serious literature. That’s not how things turned out. I got involved with people. I got involved in the world.

Two things matter to me right now: the creative spark and the aliveness of personal connection. In some way, they both come down to the same thing.”