Sunday, January 23, 2011


A few months ago, the priest and I were walking to the seminary, and he pointed up at some wispy cirrus clouds in the sky. “Maybe we will finally have rain tomorrow,” he said. “God willing,” I replied.

Winter is usually the rainy season in Syria, but the rains have been very late this year. Farmers are worried about how they will plant their crops in the spring, and ordinary people are worried about what will happen to the price of food. Millions of Syrians have been lifting prayers to God for rain in the past few months.

A few days after my conversation with the priest, it finally happened. It poured all day, turning the uneven pavement into puddles and ponds, and putting everyone into a good mood.

And the day after, we got one better.

I was Skyping with my friend Adam when some of the boys ran into the room and shouted, “Joel, tellaj! Tellaj!” Snow! Yeah, sure, I thought to myself. A few sleet particles, and they throw a fit.

Well, take a look for yourself.

I’m told that Damascus hasn’t gotten this much snow in around a decade. I certainly didn’t expect to see this much. It’s a lot of fun, but Damascus is not a city accustomed to snow. The snow isn’t good for the sketchy architecture of Old Damascus - my friend’s neighbor already had a wall collapse. The giant Christmas tree at the patriarchate where I live snapped in half. School was closed for two days over a few inches. And on a much more trivial note, I’m learning that my shoes don’t keep out slushy water too well.

After three days, the snow was almost all melted, except on the peaks of the nearby mountains. But praise God! It was just what the earth needed, and it was one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in Damascus.

1 comment:

  1. Joel, are things pretty calm there in Syria? What do you think is going to happen in Egypt? Do you know if the MESPers there are out?