Just looking at my photos for this month and I see that October has been rather quiet. With just four days to go until the end of the month, I’ve taken less than half of my monthly average.
Now, part of this is due to the fact that I’ve been somewhat sidelined with a back problem that has curtailed my walking, which I hope is only temporary issue. However, it is also partly due to the fact that Israel has just emerged from its annual walk through a tunnel called the High Holidays or the High Holy Days by some and Days of Awe by others. However, me being me (or is it I being I?) sometimes call them The Awful Days (using my own original and brilliant direct translation from the Hebrew).
In Israel it is now fashionable to refer to this period of 23 days as Chagei Tishrei, the festivals of [the first month of the Hebrew calendar] Tishrei. These include Rosh HaShanah (New Year), Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) and Succoth (Feast of Tabernacles). These are just over three weeks in which little gets done and timetables are completely mangled. From sometime late in summer, when one asks when something might be done or something reach its destination, the answer generally given is “after the holidays”. When the light eventually appears at the end of what each year seems like a longer tunnel than the previous years and you emerge, dazed from praying, eating, surfing or whatever you choose to do over this period, you really can’t be too sure what day of the week it is. It just seems like every other day has been the beginning or end of a week for almost a month with nothing substantive in between. It’s a bit like Christmas /New Year but goes on for longer and without the pre-festivity festivities beforehand or the post-holiday sales.
But now it’s over and the country can get back, somehow, to normal — not that anything in Israel is ever normal. The Knesset winter session opens next Monday and that will undoubtedly bring us fun and games although try as they will, the members of the Knesset can’t quite approach the toxicity levels of the U.S. presidential election, which will take place the following week.
And the clock goes back tomorrow night as Daylight Savings Time comes to an end. In a way, I’m surprised that someone in this country hasn’t complained about the fact that Israel has chosen to make this change on the same weekend as Europe, using the logic that Europe has become so anti-Zionist that we here should have chosen a specifically Jewish weekend on which to make this important temporal readjustment.
The end of DST is not the only sign that summer is coming to an end. It rained yesterday for a few minutes, which is a sure sign that something is happening but the precipitation wasn’t much in terms of quantity or time. There’s some more rain in the offing on Tuesday afternoon but that’s it for the foreseeable future.
Another sign that winter is on the way is that the Prayer for Rain was recited in synagogues on Monday morning, replacing that Prayer for Dew, which has been said religiously by pessimists since last April. Actually, I find these recitations and incantations interesting. If the rain or dew doesn’t come on time and in sufficient volume, then the answer is to pray harder and louder; if, on the other hand, the criteria demanded by the formulae are indeed met, then, of course, meteorology and physics had nothing to do with it. It was simply the Supreme Being had responded positively to the invocations.
In point of fact, everything is running late this year. The Hebrew calendar is a lunar calendar and leap years keep it in touch with the solar calendar by adding an extra month seven times in a cycle of 19 years (rather than a single day every four years—more or less). The dates of Jewish festivals thus vary in relation to the solar calendar and this year they have come very late in the civil year, so much so that children were at school (which starts on September 1) for a whole month before the enforced disfigurement of most peoples’ schedules and the university year only begins on October 30, which makes me glad I’m not so young any more!
But the tardiness in the arrival of winter 2016 is mostly noticed by the late arrival of the cormorants in the Yarqon Park where, during the winter months, they perch on the tops of the trees that line the river and put the fear of something into the nasty, murderous, thuggish crows who think they own the place and take to extracting (especially on Sunday mornings) almost everything that well-meaning people have wrapped in plastic bags and placed in garbage cans.
The dates on the palm trees in the park look riper this year than usual but then they’ve stayed on the trees later because they haven’t been picked until “after the holidays” and still haven’t been.
In general, I look forward to the Tel Aviv winter if only because, for no other reason, the light conditions can yield images of some beauty.
In general, although winter has not yet arrived, it’s easy to feel that it’s on the way. The mornings have been a coolish 20º—23º C, the sun has been but warm and it actually feels chilly at night time and for the first time since the summer began, there’s been little need for ceiling fans or air-conditioners and activities in the park sort of reflect this situation.
Finally, during the past week I decided to clear out some of the garbage on my computer, in this instance, mostly applications that I never use and/or can’t even remember what they are supposed to do. However, something that I discovered (and had forgotten about entirely) was that I had tried to keep a blog before PhotoGeoGraphy (the one you’re reading). This was way back in the far distant past, in 2009, when Apple had an application called iWeb, which was terminated in 2011. And as the Wikipedia entry on iWeb states, “On June 30, 2012 Apple finally pulled the plug on MobileMe. All iWeb websites hosted on MobileMe disappeared if not hosted elsewhere. Apple provided instructions of how to move iWeb sites to another host.” This was nice of Apple (and they are wont to do things like this on occasion).
However, I had saved what I had written before that time and this week was the first time in seven and half years that I actually re-read them. I wrote 20 pieces between February and December of 2009, most them in February and March. What I do remember about them was that although I wrote them and published them, I had no idea how to circulate them so that other people could read them—which is probably just as well. However, I’ve added some two pieces of what I wrote then to PhotoGeoGraphy, so if you’re interested — nor just plain nosey — you can read them at: