The first real rain of the year is a milestone in Israel, usually coinciding with the end of the holiday season (though we got lucky with two extra weeks of sun this year). After the first rain, farmers harvest olives. People break out rain boots. This morning the heat was on at JAIS.
And oh, how it rained last night! They were not literally the first drops since April — there was one cloudburst in September, and apparently a little drizzle when we were in the desert last week, but this was still a Major Event. We had a great view as we sat outside at the Casino bar in Mahane Yehuda market (“the shuk”). This was a total coincidence — usually we’re at home. But last night, over drinks with some friends, we sheltered under an awning outside. We watched as the rain bucketed from the sky, flowing in rivers down the cobblestones as the market stalls closed up and the baker across the courtyard kept right on baking pitas. We walked home once the storm finally subsided. The footpaths in Gan Sacher were flooded out; Terence literally used sandbags to get us across.
It’s a profound difference to see this city in cloud and rain after so many months of full sun. The brightness was a hard adjustment when we first arrived. Light bounces off the white Jerusalem stone on every building and every sidewalk; it feels like being on a sailboat, all the time. Back in August, laundry dried on our roof in about 30 minutes. But now I’m looking off my balcony at so many shades of grey with the sun peeking through, starting to dry off the stones that are still drenched from last night’s deluge.It’s gorgeous, in a totally different way.
I’ll be curious how this change in seasons affects our life. We rely on being able to walk everywhere, all the time. Apparently the best place for cheap rain gear is in Mea Shearim, so I might be putting on my long skirt next week and going shopping!