Scratches in our Playlists of Life on the Border
Thursday evening we had a night of violence. Red Alerts and incoming rockets towards my community, 2 kms from the border with the Gaza Strip, as well as a few others. Then, in the wee hours of the morning, the response of the IAF shook our windows and woke most of us up here on Nirim. When we woke up, Friday morning, most of us went about our lives as usual.
I went to my photography class in Ashkelon, driving along the road that hugs the border without a second thought. Conversation with my companion touched slightly on the events of a mere few hours earlier, but for the most part we discussed the issues of the day: shutter speeds and photography gear, politics and his house renovations. Most of us bounce back quickly, and despite the fact that the previous night was a total surprise, we know how to sense when we are headed into something bigger. That’s not what we are sensing now.
Think of it like this: each time there is an escalation, or even a case of individual rocket fire, it’s as if your psyche is one of those old time vinyl LPD records. Each experience adds another scratch to the record; to your psyche. Superficial scratches might be barely noticed, and can even be fixed to a certain extent. Deeper scratches are more of a problem. Each time you play that record from that time forward, the scratch remains, and reminds you. Some of us have a harder time letting the tension traverse our consciousness. For some of us that tension gets stuck in a crack that is deeper and holds on to the fears, needing to process and release more slowly for the sake of their wounded psyches. Eventually they, too, are able to let it fade into the background noise; the white noise of living in this region.
In the evening our family and another got together for Friday night dinner. We sat outside on the porch. The children romped freely on the lawn. The topic of that which we had experienced less than 24 hours earlier barely came up. I would be lying if I told you that I didn’t think about what would happen if there were a Red Alert in the middle of dinner and the kids on the lawn. I didn’t dwell upon it, but the thought crossed my mind instantaneously every so often: it’s a sort of safety mechanism we have that means the memory is still that fresh that it’s important to preserve it – to be ready for anything. But the adults try not to dwell upon it in the presence of the littles, so as not to impede the healing of last night’s little “scratch” on the record of their memories.
At one point, it popped up in a convo I overheard between my 7-year-old granddaughter and her friend.
Ray of Light: Did the noise wake you up last night?
Ray of Light’s friend: Nah, I slept through it. There was thunder, but I slept through it.
Ray of Light: That wasn’t thunder. It was a Red Alert.
Ray of Light’s friend: No – not that – later. The thunder.
Ray of Light: That was the army bombing the terrorists.
Ray of Light’s friend: No – I think it was thunder.
When they went back to the lawn to play, his dad explained: “He asked me why I was closing the saferoom window, I told him that it was so the noise wouldn’t wake him. That information satisfied him.”
We try to preserve the innocents as much as we can. Some kids are more aware and are scratched more deeply and easily. Others, can be placated with more soothing explanations. My granddaughter did not go to school the morning after the night of rockets. She needed the sense of security she has in her home the following morning, to be near her parents. Though by evening, she was happy to practice somersaults on the lawn behind the porch, as the sun was setting over the Gaza Strip into the Mediterranean sea. We all have our scratches. We do what we need to, to soothe them, and then get back to our 95% heaven in our homes in the western Negev desert, 2 kms from the border with the Gaza Strip.
#lifeontheborder #IsraelUnderAttack #rocketfire