I’ve been meaning to write for a few days, but it’s been so hard to get KG away from the computer. Seems he has his own following now and it’s gone to his head a bit. And for any of you who really know KG (alias “Rocco,” aka “The Rocket Man,” and my favorite, “Einstein”), you know that when he finally sets his mind to something, it’s very difficult to dissuade him. Be that as it may, it’s my turn today. Sorry puppy. You’ll just have to wait.
Today was a special day. We had our first really big rain and it seems to have brought with it a big change in temperature. It’s been threatening to rain for a few days. Last week we had one of those Biblical and awesome (using the REAL meaning of the word) lightning storms. No thunder. Just lightning. Heat lightning, traveling behind, out of, and UP through the clouds. Frankly, I think the lack of sound made it all the more eerie. And I’ve never seen lightning travel UP! I kept looking for it, thinking that maybe I just didn’t see it right. But there it was, stretching from the clouds upward into the black of the heavens. Huge bolts, jagged and visibly charged with the static of the heat that had built up over the months, now at an explosive point, leaped, jumped, bolted, and catapulted from one cloud to another. Horizontal, vertical, South to North. Yellow, blue, and white. I’ve seen such a display only once, on Martha’s Vineyard. It was a hot night as well, and there the bolts danced their hour-long pas-de-deux. I remember sitting on the sand at South Beach along with dozens of other people as we watched this celestial performance taking place far out over the Atlantic Ocean. Of course, the lack of thunder was replaced by the crashing sound of the waves, which made the experience all the more unique.
I was first made aware of our recent electrical storm in Afula by the flashing of lights that were so bright that I thought they were from a passing police car. But when they came again, and at irregular intervals, I went out to the terrace to look. And sure enough, off to the west was this explosive performance. I find myself lacking how to adequately describe the scenario. While watching the “show,,” In the back of my mind came a heavenly voice saying, “Hey! You want to see a magic trick?” I felt no fear, no sense of peril, no subconscious parallel drawn between the flashes of an exchange of highly charged particles and the flashes that are seen in war-torn areas. It was just pure delight and I refused to let any lines be drawn that would destroy the moment.
However . . . one can’t help but think about how such a natural phenomenon would have appeared to ancient man who attributed all such happenings to atavistic explanations. Lightning hits the sand and boom! A Desert Rose. Desert Roses are created by the melting of sand struck by lightning into crystallized shapes that look almost like clumps of ginger. How could ancient man (or woman) possibly explain this meteorological event and how it must have felt to be on the plains of Armageddon, here in the Jezreel Valley, with Jordon off to the East, Nazareth to the North and “Saul’s Shoulder,” the mountain where nothing grew since King David cursed it thousands of years ago, all around you while watching such a storm. Even when we are so accustomed to and jaded by the wonders of our electronic age, even when we are so used to watching films with CGI effects that we accept as real, even so, a silent lightning storm such as this must surely move you.
Our season-changing deluge came in two phases. Phase I was during Ulpan when Osnati (my incredible Ulpan teacher) came dancing into the room singing “Geshem, Geshem!” (Rain, rain!). I might add that NO ONE here sings “rain, rain, go away. Come again some other day.” Such an offense would surely be dealt with quickly and harshly. No, this event called for a run out into the rain, standing like a little kid as the rain poured down on all of us. It just felt so damned good! Quite a site. 15 Russian doctors giggling like little children at the promise of summer’s retreat. It has absolutely overstayed its welcome.
Phase II came this evening as I lay dozing on the couch, felled by exhaustion (happy, but exhausted). I saw more of the sky light up, then felt a very sudden drop in temperature followed by a swirling blast of cold air, sending plants, chairs, felled leaves, and patio furniture moving around. A gust? With great gusto came this gust. Might I actually need to wear a sweater tonight? Even better, might I actually sleep IN my bed, under my sheets tonight? Oh my! I can hardly contain my excitement. Truly.
And on a last note, my cousin from the US came to visit me today. Harry is married to my first cousin, Abby, and has a disposition unlike that of anyone else I know. He is completely without agendas, always supportive, always asking how to help, always inviting you to come for Shabbas dinner, regardless of the 2 hour drive it would entail. There is no end to what he’d do for his family.
And so today, lugging hair products, replacement eye liner (deep purple to bring out the hazel in my eyes!), a Hebrew-English dictionary and a book with 501 conjugated Hebrew verbs, Harry arrived and presented me with my version of a Red Cross package. Hair products and books. Everything else you can get here (for a price).
We toured the Emunah Center and Harry, who is always with camera in hand, clicked away. He kept explaining that no one back in the US really understands what I’m doing here (not “why the heck am I here” but literally, what this place is about). He was really taken aback by the campus and the faces of the children. Snap! A kid climbing a tree. Clickl! A kid careening around a corner on his bike. Click click! Kids and madrichim (counselors),stopping to give me a hello hug.
“Ooooooooooh!! Now I get it,” said Harry. It makes so much more sense seeing it.
“Ooooooooooh! Now I get it,” says Ellin. The power of nature really is awe-some.