As the warm season comes to a close I think of the desert and its variable weather. True, in the late spring/summer months it is very hot, dry and stiff. But at the start of the program the day might be hot but the nights were cool and refreshing. A day in March at the Arava Institute I would wear comfortable shorts in the daytime and switch to long pants and a sweater for the evening. By the end though, the weather had settled to be hot or hotter. It was quite a transition, though I never thought it would be as dramatic as the weather shift in New England. In the northeast, when the warmth of summer has left, it has really left and it is cold, to the bone, everyday. I find the shift quite comparable to that in the desert, just in the opposite direction, obviously.
In all these meanderings of the weather it makes me think more and more of the friends that I am missing from those warmer months. Have you ever had such a strong feeling about something or some place that was so intrinsically entwined with a season? As a child this was certainly true for me. In summer I would play bocce, eat at a cafeteria and play violin on a small Island. In the fall I would go back to school and build fairy homes at the base of trees in the multicolored foliage and celebrate Michaelmas with a large paper-mache dragon! As I have gotten older and have begun to traveling more broadly with each year varying greatly, my associations with the seasons are no longer set in my memory with events. Rather, they are now tied, tightly, to the people I have met and our experiences together in whatever season.
My last semester was life changing for me, and as the fall rolls into the northeast I am realizing this all the more. Going into the past spring I did not have the most positive energy towards the endeavor. As I think of it more I am attributing it to two factors; an uneasiness located somewhere in my subconsciousness and the spring and summer in a desert. Since I am very affected by the seasons my brain told me that the odds were I was going to have a difficult season with my over-arching nemesis: heat.
To my surprise I had one of my best, my favorite, my happiest warm months that I had ever experienced. I met so many wonderful people, heard so many stories and histories, and began to learn how little I know. I was immersed in cultures I did not understand completely and yet, their art and knowledge, their people stood out to me like gems shining under bright Arava Valley sun, each unique and multi-faceted, shaped as much from the environment as the people who surrounded them. I hope I left my contribution to their beauty as they have left their mark on me. For once now I have a memory, laden as it was by oppressive heat, that lies light on my heart and in my memory.
A northern clime girl who is a non-confrontational being at heart I never expected to find myself so drawn to a place so contrary to a core part of my being. I never expected to have myself pulled towards any place, let alone a place in such a state of constant flux. There is an energy, both positive and negative, that is embedded in the very soil of this place that I find myself wanting to explore more of. Maybe it is the part of me that wishes to find a homeostasis in any place that I experience. Maybe it is ingenuity and brilliance of people that I have met. Perhaps it is both of these and more; a search for an understanding that I have no words for.
Thank you all who made this experience for me. All who struggled, fought, discussed and partied, all who sacrificed time and more to be in one location, together, chipping away at a mountain. Much love to the human beings that I have met.