Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A Palestinian Sunrise

"There is a purple glow over the hills of Moab when the black night melts softly into the day and from the Jordan Valley a white mist rises, rolls up the hills into the lightening sky - a mist which softens the clear-cut ridges and drapes the purple shadows with silver. There is something unreal, fantastic, about these hills. Where the night still lingers in the hollows dark forms can be distinguished - weird forms which change their contours even as one looks.

"Down in the hollow the Dead Sea lies motionless, unruffled, glittering like quicksilver or a jewel in a bed of velvet; now changing its colour gradually, perceptibly, from purple into a shadowy blue.

"For over the hills the first pale fingers of the dawn have come, irradiating the sky with yellow. At first it is a narrow strip lying along the topmost ridges of the hills, stretching from the hazy north away down into the south. Slowly the strip widens, painting the crests with glorious orange, and slowly the colour brightens. Flaming swords cleave the sky, vermilion and crimson, blazing a passage into the unborn day.

"Above me, over the Mount of Olives, the sky is a heavenly blue. Behind, the sleeping city of Jerusalem is silent and still. To the west, beyond the city the night has not yet died, and a fading moon shines, illuminating the house-tops and gleaming on the cobbled streets. A few stars twinkle, sending their last quivering rays on to the city.

"Then all is light.

"The Hills of Moab burn red, reflecting a glory which has yet to burst on the landscape. For everything still sleeps, will sleep, until the sun has risen. Even the birds are motionless. There is no sound, no sign of life.

"Over the hills a slice of crimson mounts steadily, majestically, filling the wilderness of Abraham with a rosy light, spreading across the glittering Dead Sea a diaphanous veil of scarlet.

"Gradually the city wakens and the sleeping birds and beasts open their eyes to a new day. The blue sky, but a moment ago serenely quiet, is filled with fluttering wings. A brown hawk swoops across the heavens, and tiny crested larks fly uncertainly into the morning - silhouetted against a canvas of fire - now darkening - now paling - until the scarlet blaze has melted quietly into the day, and the yellow sun shines high." (Newsgirl in Palestine, Barbara Board, 1937, pp 43-44)

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