After the explorations of het northern part of Israel with its abundant orchards and vineyards, Shahaf took me back to Michal. Rivka Klein organized a seminar on Sunday where I could explain my purpose with the Walk and my approach in taking and analyzing a case. In the afternoon, the live patient gave me the opportunity to demonstrate the theory.
Over the years I became more and more convinced that the most important thing in case taking is the art of listening with full attention. A frequently made mistake is to choose a topic or a word too soon and to ask the patient to elaborate and by doing so directing the case. If we only can restrain ourselves, wait and listen, the patient will have a chance to reveal his vital disturbance. Only what came spontaneously is reliable, the other information might not be anything else than an answer to a question.
In the evening Li’at took me to the kibbutz at a few kilometers from Gaza where she lives with her husband Neel and 6 children.
Her mother welcomed us and prepared a delicious meal while Neel showed me around. People from the north like me never get enough of sitting and eating outside in the evening, it always feels somehow like a holiday and a celebration. Some persons just wither when they have to stay inside too much and only start to flourish outdoors.
The alarm clock rang at 6 am and after all the kids were ready for school and kindergarten and all our picnics were ready we took off for the desert. Li’at and Neel are desert lovers as well and they know good walking trails. At the Ben Gurion burial place we left he car and started our trip for today.
The desert is hard to describe. I’ve been in the Sinai twice before, a few times at the beginning of the Sahara in Morocco and Tunis as well as in the Mojave, the Iranian and Gobi desert. They are all different. Some are sand deserts and some are stone deserts, some are completely bare and others do have some scanty vegetation. All of them have an ever changing display of light and colors and utter silence…. There is much more life than one would imagine at the first glimpse but it is concentrated, brought back to its essentials, quiet, equanimous….
In a former life I‘ve probably been a desert nomad or a camel as I neither feel thirst or tiredness in the desert nor do I suffer from the heat.
The plan was to stay overnight in an open shelter because there is nothing like a starry sky in the desert. A tremendous feeling of awe comes over me when I look in those millions and millions of lights in the sky, realizing we are only a tiny one among those.
Luckily my hosts had a plan B as the wind started to blow and clouds filled the sky in the late afternoon. In the Ben Gurion University of the Negev a niece of Neel is living the last few years working on her doctorate. She lives in what she called her ‘shoebox’ but most hospitably invited us to stay. We got inside just in time before a thunderstorm with the one lightning after the other and heavy rainfall broke loose. Because the electricity fell out we had a meal by candlelight while I was trying to explain homeopathy to a hard core scientist. Ever tried that? She was genuinely friendly, open minded and eager to know but it was a bit like describing the color yellow to a blind man.
Next morning (again at 6am) we woke up and prepared for our second day. We were going to make a walk along a piece of conceptual art: 100 pillars placed in a straight line in the landscape with the inscription Peace in all different languages, oriented from east to west.
John Lennon already said: If we want war to end, then stop today.
Then it was time to go back because today and tomorrow is Shavoeot, one of the important feast days in Israel. My hosts had to be back in the kibbutz for the festivities, Li’ats mother baked cheese cakes and all kinds of traditional foods for the occasion. And Michal and I were invited at Rivka’s home to celebrate with her (Dutch) family and friends. It was a pleasant evening with conversation in Dutch, English and Hebrew all mixed together.
This morning while writing it started to thunder and rain again. When I arrived in Tel Aviv more than two weeks ago it was 37 degrees. And I hear the same remark everywhere, whether it is a thunderstorm in the desert or raining in May or hot or cool: ‘”This is most unusual, we never had this weather before”.