Dry as a bone. That’s what these autumn days in the Galilee are like. The sky is cloudless, the sun, relentless and the air, brittle. My jars and tubes of creams are serving overtime. Now I understand why people here have always rubbed their skin and hair with olive oil.
When the seasonal rains don’t come, there is no ignoring it. The desiccation is ominous. For practitioners of traditional farming, whether in Biblical times or more recently, the winter rains are essential to soften the summer-baked earth so that it can be plowed and sowed with the new year’s grain crop. If that rain is not forthcoming and the seeds are not planted in good time, the agricultural year starts out of whack. Which portends a lot worse than chapped lips and bad hair.
I try to keep this agricultural perspective in mind on days like today – an awareness of how the forces of nature once maintained a powerful upper hand, and cultivated humility in us hapless, scrambling humans. To remember a time when a hot dry day didn’t signal that it’s time to hop into the car and drive to the beach, but instead drove people to believe that relief could come through faith.