Miracles of Rain, 600 Meters Above the Sea of Galilee by Malik Kirat
One February Saturday morning I returned home with Bob Dylan’s song on my mind. It was mostly the line going ”You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows …”. Shaking off the rain-soaked weathered old windbreaker, which came in my possession as a legacy from my father in law, I thought. How true Dylan’s words are for anyone owning a young large Akita dog… Not a perfectly mannered purebred, but you love it enough to wake up at 5 am, never mind the weather or the darkness outside. Then you take a happy furry ball of energy for a morning walk. On weekend it is a win-win situation because you can do it a bit later in a day when the sun is already up and turn it into a hike in nature.
So was today, leaving around 7 am, happy to catch a break between the rain showers. After a bit of walking, we reach an entrance to the local viewpoint, created and named in honor of the resident of our Kibbutz, a young officer killed in combat in Gaza. This is one of few possible physical entrances into the wild nature outside our civilized bubble. Otherwise, we just walk along the outside fence and watch. After entering a small gate, I unleash the dog, who runs around sniffing and enjoying the freedom.
It is a very beautiful spot, facing the Sea of Galilee and the Hermon Mountain, covered with the late snow. A wild almond tree is blooming, large green leaves of the sea squills are edging the path to the vista. Tulip buds everywhere around, and in a long and narrow flowerbed made of the local small basalt rocks. There are lovely rough wooden benches of different sizes, a large wooden swing for six people to sit comfortably together. Massive wooden wind chimes, called ”Jerusalem Chimes”, are facing east and west. Only the strongest winds can produce the sound of it. Lately, I heard the chimes quite often. Below, past the small fence is a slope leading into a hilled valley and a riverbed.
We reach the fence. Rain clouds ranging in colors from purple to whitish are blown in by the western wind. After circling around above the surface of the Sea of Galilee, clouds gather together and enter our valley, promising a chance of some good shower. This valley below us is lushly green, with ribbons of limestone and dirt roads standing out as narrow rain puddles reflect whatever light is there at 7 am.
Is it the same valley that was all brownish color of dry grass and plants just two months ago? The dog can’t answer that, being just a new addition to the family. But I took some pictures of the same area while exploring in November and December. It was the same very valley. Now all green, with the small balls of white here and there, indicating wild almond trees blooming. Pinkish violet islands of the Maltese Cross Ricotia flowers, covering the low hills. I knew that it’s not all there is of the colors to see. But some flower buds weren’t open because of the absence of the sun or because it was still early morning. Also, we were too far up to see everything that bloomed.
I could hear a faraway roar of the water in the almost all year quiet stream below, making the idea of trying to climb down very tempting. Our chances of traveling downhill seemed unreal for all the dirt and the slippery wetness of the basalt rocks. Coyote and wild pig’s trails were not good for today’s weather and the dirt road was all mud and rocks upturned by the flow of the rainwaters draining from our plateau.
So it would be going along the cliff today. Fine by young Akita, fine by me.
I will continue the story about the hike next time. We will talk about the weather in the Holy Land general. Beginning with our greatest concern of all times – “Geshem”, meaning Rain in English.