Tipping the Seasonal Scale

In the Galilee the year is divided about equally into two seasons.  The first, which starts in the fall, can be called the rainy season, although it is more accurately described as the period during which rain may or may not come.  In the second season, quite surely it will not.

As one would expect in nature, there is no single point where one season ends and the other takes over.  Instead, there is a substantial, liminal period of erratic weather between the two. This interval roughly coincides with the seven weeks plus one day between Passover and Shavuoth – which ended this past Wednesday.

The day broke hazy and hot, and by afternoon the temperature outside topped one hundred (40 Celsius).  Even after sundown, the heat persisted and at one point the wind picked up, sending blasts of burning air through the darkness.  The next morning was thirty degrees cooler, but the air was thick and yellow.  By noon, a pathetic sprinkle of rain made the briefest appearance.  Then the sky cleared back to blue.

All this is to show that the long, hot and dry half of the year is imminent.  Yet even in the traditional agricultural landscape of the Galilee, dry does not mean desiccated. Moisture from the underground water table and morning dew will sustain the second season’s grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and baal vegetables – even without the benefit of irrigation, until the next cycle.

Perhaps we can find in this last act of climatic theatrics, a reminder to appreciate the extraordinary environmental equilibrium that is about to be restored.

pomegrantes to come



  1. Sy Rotter says:

    It would appear from your description of the predictability of the timing of the two Galilee seasons that climate change, such as we here in the Sonoran Desert area are experiencing, is of no concern. Lucky you! After these past 8 years of seemingly non stop dry heat that a spell of rain would be a most welcome change, but not likely to occur. Tal confirmed that you submitted your “Wheat Milling” paper on time to your Oxford Symposium sponsors. He looks and sounds great, perhaps in part due to his new friend and in part a reflection that he has only one year to go before stepping out of the academic shadows into the light of the unknown world of new opportunities subject, at least in theory, to his choices! Take good care and keep in touch. Love, Dad