January 22, 2020

In The Clouds

The lower Galilee floats in a sea of cloud
As I open the front door, a cloud drifts inside, flutters and dissolves. Curious, I step out into wafting, billowing clouds. Fog veils the oaks and flutters, revealing mossy, bare branches – nature’s playful version of peek-a-boo.

Light playfully pierces the fog, opening it like a curtain on stage. I suddenly see a swathe of blue smudging the sky, green slopes and a deep valley where clouds saunter, slither, then take a ghostly flight path up to the peak. Again, my sight is obscured, the world masked.  

This is my first winter living in the mountains of northern Israel. Experiencing the heavy rains, damp cold and fog in a place that is usually baking hot, arid and cloudless presents yet another Israeli paradox – and one that is fascinating.

I study the fog, formed only when humidity is 100 percent and water vapor condenses into tiny droplets of water. I notice the fog accumulating in the valley below, and observe how it wafts up mountains, often leaving the tops floating like islands in a sea of cloud. I often feel as if I am in an airplane looking out at a bright blue sky while below, the world is covered in a thick down blanket.

And I watch the clouds slither up the slopes. This is upslope fog, when moist air condenses and cools. Sometimes this fog hovers lazily, loitering. Or the fog can be vigorous, skipping and flitting up the mountain, then disappearing into thin air like an expired breath.

Days of pounding rain create a desire to cocoon under a blanket with a steaming tea in one hand and a book in another. And when the rain eases, I venture out, astounded by how quickly the nurturing rain creates a velvety blanket of green on the path. Leaves sparkle and the tree bark shines. I hear birds chirping and rustling in the leaves. Water droplets gather in the green arms of daffodils, the first blooms to burst from moist, rocky soil into a muffled, masked world.

Nahal Parod
Nearby, a dry river bed swells with rain water that gathers force, plummeting over rocks and surging into pools and then down, creating spectacular waterfalls. To see a once-dry river ‘birth’ as water gathers and surges is yet another miracle care of the Israeli winter. 
A ‘rain forest’ in a country best known for parched desert. Rumbling water swirling over rock that is usually bone dry. This is magnificence. The wonders of Israel never cease.