Monday, October 20, 2008

In the Steps of the Master ~ Sunrise over the Sea of Galilee

In preparation for our trip I've been dipping into HV Morton's classic "In the Steps of the Master", originally written in 1934. So much has changed in Palestine / Israel since then, but his elegant turn of phrase is such a delight I felt compelled to share with you some of his observations. As I journal our travels for this blog, I will try to add some of HV Morton's words to my own.

Here he describes the sun rising over the Sea of Galilee ( a description you are very unlikely to read from my pen, since early mornings and I enjoy but a nodding acquaintance).

Rising at the exquisite hour of four a.m., when the world is hushed and cool, I went up to the roof of the hotel to watch the sun rise over the Lake of Galilee.

At this time Tiberias is covered with a shroud of silence and greyness. An Arab, who picked himself from the dust where he had spent the night, stole off into the morning stillness like a ghost.

There was one star still burning in the sky. Beyond the flat roofs of the intervening houses the Sea of Galilee was lying cold and grey like an old mirror, unruffled by any wind of dawn. On the opposite bank the savage Gergesene hills halted at the water's edge like crouching beasts. Behind those hills a faint pink glow filled the sky, growing every second more powerful; it wodened and spread, quenching the last star and giving, even before the sun rose, the thinnest shadows to palm trees and houses.

Men and animals knew that a new day had come. Cocks crowed in a chorus that was echoed from hill to hill. Arabs, their heads still shrouded in their robes, for they sleep fully dressed, led camels and donkeys to water. Sparrows set up an excited chirping, and swifts filled the air with their bright screaming.

Then suddenly the sun leapt over the hills of Gergesa - and everything was changed! It was warm. The lake was blue. I could see the snow shining on Hermon to the north. The bells of the Greek convent set up a deep ringing. There was a smell of cooking from somewhere. And the muezzin came out on the minaret of the mosque and called the faithful to prayer. So a new day came to Tiberias.

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