Monday, November 8, 2010

Flora and Fauna, Nablus

A couple of early morning strolls around the town have been delightful: although it's supposed to be the rainy season, I haven't seen any rain yet, and everything is dusty and thirsty. There is the hint of what is to come, however, as I'm told that everything comes alive after a good downpour, and I can't wait to see it.

There are jasmine bushes, bourgainvilea, orange, fig, lemon and lime trees, pomegranate, almond, grapefruit, satsuma and of course the ubiquitous olive...

Strangely, I've seen very little insect activity, which is a great pity, as I value highly our six or eight-legged friends. There is a cobweb in the bathroom window, offering me hope of seeing the owner one morning, but so far no bees, centipedes, ants, beetles or flies. Strange, non?

Two funny things have happened to me which made me smile, however. This afternoon, whilst walking back from the Old City, an orange detached itself noisily from it's place of birth and dropped right down in front of me...making me jump. A passing local smiled broadly and said "it's just a co-incidence", as if he already knew I was a conspiracy theorist!! Spooky - haha! Second event was also bizarre: walking along a dry, dusty road full of early morning traffic, a movement out of the corner of my eye made me stop - there was a small tortoise, slowly making his/her way along the bottom of a high wall.

Now maybe he was going shopping, and I try not to interfere too much with the natural order of things, but I felt he'd be better off, and less likely to get run over, if he was in an olive grove. So I picked him up, and he immediately drew his head and legs in. I could almost hear him thinking "Oh blast, here's another of those pesky do-gooders". Anyway I deposited him 10 metres further on in said olive grove. How to think like a tortoise, however, THAT is the question? Also, it struck me how utterly defenceless he was when I picked him up: I held complete dominion over him, and his future. Such is the nature of being either bigger and stronger than your adversary, or being smaller and defenceless, even if you've developed a thick skin over the years.

Today we are hearing the sonic boom from Israeli jets flying very low overhead, as they complete their training missions.

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