Tuesday, December 7, 2010


We have finally had two doses of rain, neither of which were prolonged or enough, but it has damped down the dust a bit.

This morning, whilst on the balcony drinking my coffee, I watched two birds enjoying a bath in the water that had collected on top of a water tank. I've seen these birds flitting around quite a lot: they have black heads and wings, grey bodies and yellow under-bellies. I have never seen one in Europe, and it is a pleasure to watch them.

Apart from the hummingbird mentioned previously, a few egrets pecking around in the paint-polluted water of the stream, and a single woodpecker spotted in the walnut tree one morning, the birds are thin on the ground here. Still no news on the insects, and I suspect the dearth of them has something to do with the quantity of chemicals used in various agricultural and manufacturing processes, let alone any that might have been used during the fighting (white phosphorous, for example, was used recently, and it is deadly).

Quite apart from the human aspect of the unfolding tragedy that is going on here, I miss watching, hearing and enjoying the microscopic life that normally goes on at ground level, of which the majority of us are oblivious. The ants and the flies and the wasps and the beetles are normally going about their daily business, oblivious in their turn of our inability to understand the importance of their work, but here it is strangely silent.

Maybe the rains, when they come, will spring this dry dusty landscape into life again, and I hope to see this before I leave in ten days. The rain has certainly freshened things up a bit, and the locals are pleased.

News from Europe is of thick, unprecedented snow, and I thought you might like to hear a poem I penned when I was a young girl, which for some reason stays with me:

'It snowed today,
but the world wasn't white,
as some poets say.
The world was still green,
green and grey,
but at least it snowed today.

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