January 8, 2013

Loch Ness Monster Sighting

Here in Israel, it’s not so easy to fall into a boring day-to-day routine. There is no time to twiddle one’s thumbs, or file away bills, or color code the closet. Life is never drab and something is always happening; a visit from overseas friends, another Jewish holiday or something falling from the sky.

Thankfully, this time, the sky is producing rain and not rockets. In the last few days, it has been raining cats and dogs.  (?חתולים וכלבים) Living in a desert, where a few drops of rain produces excitement, rumbling thunder and torrents of pounding rain induce a sort of ecstasy.

I sat in my attic office today, shielded from it all, save for the hammering of rain on my roof. Someone called and said Tel Aviv was shut down. Another emailed that the Ayalon, the main highway through the city, was a river. So I turned on the TV only to see that this ‘rain’ had turned into a super, sensational story of  antediluvian proportions.

A newscaster reported from the Ayalon in Tel Aviv, where the Yarkon River surged across the express lanes. Another reporter stood somewhere in the Galilee where viewers watched cars practically paddling across a highway. We then went to the Golan where one reporter grinned as he pointed out a waterfall plunging into a valley. They reported that Haifa had received 54 cm. of rain since Friday, twice its annual rainfall. They spoke of possible snow in Jerusalem and in Tsfat and about two feet of snow that had already fallen on the slopes of Mount Hermon.  This was all exciting news.

Whenever there is rain in Israel, we walk about feeling honored, as if we have been graced by a foreign dignitary. No one complains. Instead we talk of lower red lines and upper red lines and the dreaded black line as we remind ourselves how much the Kinneret needs each drop of this water.

Now, for a Canadian, who can face hail, sleet, black ice and a snowstorm all in one day, this may seem a little over the top. But the Canadian tends to growl and grumble, then take out his snow shovel and book a ticket to Florida.

The Israelis practically made the rainstorm into a public holiday. People jumped in puddles, adventurers rafted down the Ayalon expressway and school kids squealed when they were sprayed by buses. Others found humor in this and posted their reactions on Facebook. My favorite is:

Breaking News: Rain pounds Israel for third straight day. UN blames Jewish state for starting it.

Then there was the Loch Ness monster sighting on the Ayalon Freeway earlier today.

                                         As I said, there is never a dull moment here....

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