Rain, snow and wild times hit Israel. The Sea of Galilee rose a bit. The Mediterranean smashed over the boardwalk in Tel Aviv, in Caesarea and winds were so strong that one pedestrian in Tel Aviv was swept up into the air and dropped in the middle of the road in front of oncoming traffic.
Here in the Negev, sandstorms abided but the promised rain never materialized.
This morning, as I headed out the door, I saw a small flock of peacocks wandering the kibbutz in search of fallen pecans.
after the sandstorm
fat rollicking peacocks
feast on pecans
The sunrise seen from an airplane makes planetary living just a little more thrilling. It’s good to rise above daily circumstance and experience life from a different plane.
I was in Toronto for a short 2-week visit. Filled with love and hugs (but never enough), I return to a hot dusty Negev. Afternoon walks provide immediate brown fields, steaming that distinctive stink of organic fertilizer. Flat lands remain flat, even after experiencing green ups and downs experienced in Canada.
We’ve arrived to the beginning of the installation of our protective structures. The kibbutz will soon be tunnelled and readied for sewers and the upheaval of shovel and crane. Half of the structures will be built elsewhere and lowered onto the cement bases about to be prepared. The other half will be built on-site, meaning constant noise and workers threading through our year.
School about to begin at the end of August is still being built. Most of the buildings are ready, except for the library, but the beautiful Ma’ale Habsor landscape is now dust and dirtpiles. Our wonderful landscape gardeners, especially Neomit Dekel-Chen, are wearing themselves to the bone hoping to provide the rich paradise they were imagining.
English teachers will be alone in our old English Centre, with grass and trees, while the rest of the staff will be stationed in various buildings. We’re going to be living a new reality.
But all that pales in the light of politics and heat. The new Fatah with its new upgraded denial of Israel’s right to talk peace will make these new protective structures even more timely. For a while, we were hoping that we’d simply have a room, just in case. I fear that the ‘in case’ might be a matter of ‘when’.
Due to jet lag, I dare not censor what I’m writing – who knows what’s clear these days. I can attest to the fact that while walking in 24degree celsius delight last week, along Queen Street West, amongst galleries (my friend Kurt Rostek‘s show at the New Gallery) and sidewalk cafes, I was able to breathe and enjoy normal weather. But home is always sweet and once more being able to participate in a t’ai chi class makes it all seem more like home sweet home.
Watch out for the Perseids tonight! And I’ve been assured that we’re in for a dynamic power meteor shower towards the end of December, so get your star-eyes steady.
Will be back when I can find my sanity.
It wasn’t just in the Negev, but rather all over Israel. Today was a combination ‘sharav’ (unusually hot heatwave) and windstorm. In the morning, on the way to school, I shot these photos on Nir-Oz:
The storm got dustier and sandier as the temperature rose.
While my Grade 12 students were getting cozy with their English pre-Matriculation exam, suddenly there was a huge creak and the lights went out.
A tree had fallen on the Library roof and along with that sunken roof out went our power cables.
Along with the powerful winds, sandstorm and heat, came the effects of classrooms without air conditioners, flies and short tempers.
School was something else today, but we studied, nonetheless.
At around 3 p.m, the weather seemed to break, but at 5:00 p.m., instead of walking home through still sandy air, I bused home.
Back on the kibbutz, I surveyed the scattered branches, the flowers scattered all over my porch and then saw the huge branch which had fallen just a metre or so from a neighbour’s front door.
One of those May days, when who knows what’s in store.
Have an interesting week,
It’s a rather peaceful time, right now. The banner is courtesy of Neomit Dekel-Chen, who put her skills to decorating the entranceway to Nir-Oz’s Dining Room.
The storks appear to be gathering forces and heading northwards towards Europe. And the living is easy now that school’s out for another week.
Hag Sameach. Let me know how you’re all doing.
Some storks have lingered behind the main flock. I wonder how long they’ll be around.
It’s a relatively quiet day, just before the full moon heads up. It’s five p.m.
Have been on Passover vacation, which means I’m free to do my online Literature course, work on my Haiku powerpoint presentation, read my new t’ai chi book and in general walk long walks through the Nir-Oz fields.
I spent Monday in Tel Aviv with my friend, Pnina, and we caught some amazing exhibits at the Tel Aviv Museum. The Exhibit of Tel Aviv Photographs was superb. Love those city street scenes, taken from angles that only photographers see and document. (Backs of office buildings, narrow Keren Teamani lanes, Neve Tzedek buildings).
We saw the exhibit put together by the Urban Sustainability Conference (From Garden City to Ecosystem).
It’s early morning. I don’t feel like writing. Why not? Cause it’s the same scenario. Why repeat myself? But, I will.
Last evening at 5:00 p.m., we had one Tzeva Adom alert. The boom landed, we exhaled again. Our evening passed, the noises outside continued. There are louder booms, now, new noises and they require analysis before the sigh of relief can be heard.
All morning, there have been planes, booms and echos of booms. We’ve had qassams landing in fields close to our residential areas. Along with that, my neighbours are having an uproariously good time with their fast growing puppy.
Their laughter and loud voices intertwine with the planes overhead.
Perhaps some of you know that the residents of this area have been provided with electronic devices that beep when there’s an incoming qassam or when we are informed of other security matters. Well, we, in this house, declined the presence of that beeper. More anxiety due to electronic beeps is the last thing I need.
If you’ve been reading my blog, you might know that I’m a puppet-maker and slicing foam rubber, applying contact cement, correctly fitting a mouth, all are things that require time and concentration. Beepers destroy focus and therefore, beepers are not welcome here.
There are, however, beepers faithfully turned on in both neighbours’ houses. (I live in a row house of 4 units, sandwiched in the middle). When the beepers go off, the poor puppy, who right now is revelling in the sunshine near the bomb shelter, cries. The puppy knows that beeper is not a good thing, and she cries.
So, for her sake, I’m happy that we’re not being beeped, that the sun is shining and that the neighbours’ voices are loud. But for myself, with the boom and echo of noises of that other reality, I can only say: may we all return to sunshine bliss very soon.
I’ll update later. Perhaps I’ll be visiting one of my children, right now located on a more southerly kibbutz.
Have a good day,
Judih, 9:27 a.m.
Yesterday, I attended an all-day conference on working with victims of trauma from war and terror.
The use of art therapy, creative writing and simply first-aid remediation are all part of the tools of therapists working with trauma victims. I’ll provide links later on as I digest what I learned yesterday
In this first update, I’d like to mention the booms at night, which seem fewer but ever-present and some of the news reports that are beginning to come in.
First, there’s a report in English on Ynet that speaks of Hamas’ methods to control lives of the civilians in Aza. Please read this report: Hamas stealing aid supplies to sell (thanks to Esther R from Netivot for the heads up).
There’s also a youtube clip, made while the ‘Calming Down’ 6 month ‘ceasefire’ was still in progress, from someone who describes her experience with qassams and living with them along with a condition of epilepsy. (again, thanks to Esther)
Watching the above clip reminds me of the film shown during the NATAL conference filmed by a crew capturing the activities of the Mobile Trauma Unit. Roni Berger, brilliantly arrives at scene after scene to comfort victims, screaming, fainting after close-by run-ins with qassams. Watching the scenes in Sderot, I empathized totally with the anxiety. Once you’ve felt your house shake and seen damage done by qassams, anxiety lingers under the surface all the time.
I’ll be back. Please look at the above links and comment.
8:06 jan 9
Noisy, noisy night
The Air Force was busy last night, and all this morning. The sound of constant thuds and booms. We’ve had one Tzeva Adom this morning, a few booms about a minute later, and I’m not sure what else I’ve been hearing on this side of the Strip.
Our kids are returning this evening from their various locations. They’ve been offered another trip to a more northerly kibbutz, but mychildren are utterly tired of being away from home. If we’re here, they want to be as well.
It’s definitely time to start some kind of learning program here on the kibbutz. How else will things ever start to come back to regular living?
The Ma’ale Habsor Principals are setting up an online learning system, where each teacher will be able to direct students and supervise assignments. Teachers will have at their disposal a site with a forum for discussions.
This puts the onus on me to snap into educational frame of mind and set up worksites with some Hebrew instructions for easier accessibility. I’d already set up something but through the initial stages of building and re-building, that work has been lost.
Meanwhile, the noise outside continues. Today’s news is not great. Soldiers have been wounded due to ‘friendly fire’ from a tank which misfired and hit a structure where soldiers were meeting.
On the sweet side of life, the aloe is growing, and the weather is absolutely gorgeous. What a strange time this is.
Will check in later,
Judih, 9:59 a.m., January 6
I’ve been doing youtube therapy.
Old Man, live by Neil Young
End of the Line, Travelling Wilburys
Why am I listening to music instead of sewing a sweatshirt that needs me, or painting details on my puppet’s face, or sweeping up the debris of life? Why?
Because music takes a crazy situation and evens it out. It lifts me up into chords and artistry, it soothes my nerves with the craft of rhythm and tone. It renews me, changes me, makes me able to breathe into a new outlook.
And so how are you this fine day?
I’ve been getting a lot of support both online and by phone. Many people from all over the world want to know what’s really going on. The news is frightening, and pinpoints disasters. They want to know what the truth is and if they should be worrying about me.
I say that worry never helps. Concern is good. Demanding peace is better. However that sort of demand is a pipe dream that’s been played for thousands of years. The Dalai Lama can grin and people may suddenly intuit the logic of peaceful co-existence, but for every convert, there are those who aren’t listening.
Hopefully, this Operation Cast Lead will lead us to operationally peaceful processes.
I’ll be back,
Judih, Friday, Jan 2/09, 9:32