Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Jerusalem in Winter

During my stay in Miami in early January, there was an unprecedented cold wave. Miamians were outraged at this breaking of the unwritten rule: Hurricanes between June and November OK, but below 50 degrees farhenheit for 12 days ! The coldest period since 1940.

For me that was a warm winter. I returned in late January to my damp and freezing house - Jerusalem in winter is not what you may imagine the warm Middle East to be. My two cats, Kinneret and Rachel, dragged up to meet me at the door with teeth chattering. Since I have been home temperatures dropped to almost freezing and this morning rain has turned to hail.

Last night a rare snow forecast for the Golan and the Hermon Mountain - the northern heights - and Jerusalem caused Israelis from warmer Tel Aviv to pack up their cars with the kids and the warmest jackets they could shlep out of closets and make the annual pilgrimage to the capital. But in the light of dawn, dreams of charging around in the snow and "ahing" and "ohing" at the sight of ethereal stone buildings and Jerusalem Pines layered with a haze of misty snow had to be postponed. No snow yet.

Here's a poem I wrote about this season:


Roses do well in Jerusalem,
hardy beauties,
they withstand the winter gales
that whistle under stone threshold doors

they brave the wet snow that slows life down
when Tel Aviv joins us in wonder

and withstand the rise of High Holy Day winds

that tear into lesser blooms
overturning September's Tabernacle booths.

Wild Snapdragon and Caper Bush
clambering over Temple ruins these millennium
thrive with the Wild Rose, the mystic "Shoshana."

She holds head high

through Hamsin burn that lays waste the purple Fuscia bells
and the yellow Sharav sand-mists
that send us indoors
to contemplate eternity.

© Sole Copyright of Shira Twersky-Cassel

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