Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Yelp and a Scream

    Today (Wednesday, theoretically yesterday) I had a busy, lovely day. I started the day by walking to my hydrotherapy session, which is about a fifteen minute walk from my home. Afterwards I circled around my town, removing the special containers of Psalms I had placed at bus stations about two and a half weeks ago (so that people could easily say a quick chapter or two while waiting for their bus).  If the situation here deteriorates I will need to replace the Psalms, but in the meantime at least, I decided to store them away.

[picture: Tehillim (Psalms) at a bus stop:]

    By the time I had completed those rounds, and bought the day’s groceries, it was noon. I started some housework, and put on some music. For the last three weeks I have not been listening to any real music, because of religious custom, and today I was finely able to. I like to listen to music a lot; it encourages me to move around more, and be more active.

    By 5 PM I had finished most of the pressing matters for the day, and I already had my daily step quota of 15,000 steps done. But I was eager to get out for a good quick aerobic walk… so I took off to the Yarkon park. It was so different than in the last three weeks, to walk without serious fears of air raid sirens. I was able to work up to a very quick pace, as I was on the smooth “walking sidewalk” in the park (as opposed to the regular sidewalk next to the buildings at the parks edge). [During the last several weeks, on the few occasions that I walked in the area, I tried to stay within quick running distance of buildings, in case of a rocket attack.] In addition, I was able to play some REAL fast aerobic music on my MP3 player, which also encouraged a quicker pace. It felt SO good to be out walking in a scenic area, without needing to scout out the safety of the path ahead, that I started SKIPPING. And I was gratified to see that I CAN skip…..and it’s fun!
    As dusk neared I reached the beach boardwalk, and turned southwards, to walk beside the beach until I would reach the location where I need to turn inland (to catch my bus home). The boardwalk had a fairly decent number of  both “walkers” (sport enthusiasts) and families. The previous times I had been there in the last three weeks, the boardwalk had been very sparsely populated. Today the numbers were not yet up to par, but even so the improvement was dramatic. At one point the waves were, on occasion, dashing over the restraining wall.  I stopped for a bit to marvel at the expanse of waves before me, and moved on. Then I observed two children standing adjacent to the guard rail, and as a sudden wave doused them, and the two boys yelped in surprise and delight.
    Suddenly my mind flashed back to Friday evening two and a half weeks ago. As dusk fell, I was out walking, in my neighborhood. Suddenly the two girls before me jolted, screamed in terror, and jumped into each other’s arms. As they did so, I heard the “boom” of the iron dome missiles intercepting a rocket attack. [We had not heard an air raid siren, as the rockets were over a town to our north, not over our region.] Several nearby bystanders were pointing to the spectacle they had seen in the sky; I missed the fireworks.

    But here on the boardwalk, I noted the difference in the children’s reactions. In both cases they were surprised. In one the situation was delightfully exciting. In the other, it was a not a yelp, but a scream of pure terror.