Saturday, September 25, 2010

PART ONE."Weather Reports". Number Nine.


Shloimy, you won't believe this!

Today, we awoke to a world of grey.

At first, I thought we had  fog, but it never lifted--and the air wasn't wet.

Normally, from our  balcony, we can see maybe 12-15 miles out into the desert,  eastward towards Jordan, before the haze that hovers above the far landscape blurs everything into a grey shroud, out there, in the distance, Jordan.

But today, that shroud has settled closer in; we seem caught in a square box: we can see perhaps 1,000 yards in every direction, no more. Then, grey. Nothing in that enveloping grey  is visible-- nothing.

Three days ago, we could see 15 miles. Today--1,000 yards.

Jerusalem, to the west, perhaps 2-4 miles away, is clearly visible on most days, but today it has been swallowed by  something invisible .

We can barely see a nearby ridge that sits perhaps 1,000 yards away.

We seem surrounded by  an opaque curtain.

But it's not a curtain.

It's not a cloud.

It's not fog.

It's not mist.

Shlloimy, you know what this is?

It's sand.

It's a Soo-faht Chol--a sand storm. You might  have trouble with the "ch" sound,  because the Hebrew sound for "ch" does not exist in English; so you pronounce it, 'Soo-Faht Hole'--sand storm.

A desert sand-storm.

It's not like the movies. There's no howling wind. No blinding sand blowing in your face. There's no harsh, sand-paper-like grit scratching your skin.

It's far more subtle than that.

It's insubstantial-- weightless.  1,000 yards from wherever you stand, there's a dry grey mist drifting towards you, around you.

If you're outside too long (10 minutes?  15 minutes?), your eyes feel scratchy; subtly, you feel  more thirsty than usual.


Fine sand. So fine, you cannot feel it on your skin, cannot feel it in your nostrils.

More sand.

It seems to envelope and then swallow whatever it touches.

It drifts, it  touches, and leaves it's mark.

Leave a window open, and in 30 minutes, you've got a fine, light-tan soot covering everything.

Everywhere, invisible dry sand touches.

Today's weather was predicted to be 96 degrees and sunny.

Today, we had 93 degrees and grey.

Very grey.

What power this desert has.

What beauty!

Shloimy, remember--

This is Israel, not America.

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