Tuesday, August 14, 2007


I was up north this afternoon. Israel being the very small size it is, you can go all the way from Jerusalem to the Lebanese border in less than four hours. I went about half way. By the time I started back, it was early evening.

Days in summer in a country this far south are not only hot (ever been in Chicago in 102 degrees Fahrenheit?), they are dazzling. The sun is so strong it really does beat down on you, and not as a figure of speech. Some people wilt under the glare, others bravely stand tall, but no matter how you deal with it, it's a physical effort, not incomparable to facing a hailstorm - only without the drama, and with no way out until the end of the day.

And then the end of day approaches. The air takes on gentler hues. The sunlight is a glowing red which Naomi Shemer once described as gold. If you've been engaged in any sort of physical activity out in the heat, you may well find yourself simply sitting and enjoying the freedom of no further exertion. The very landscape seems to heave a sigh of relief, and for an hour or so there is an atmosphere of peace.

It doesn't happen in the winter, it hardly happens for the city dwellers unless they know how to look, and it never happens for the air conditioned office dwellers. So although I know, from past experience, that the magic hour of summer twilight is there, I rarely experience it. But today I did.

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