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The calm before the storm

Like a snow day in the US Midwest, we feel the stillness. We're getting prepared. The things is, we're not waiting for snow
An Israeli reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle, backdropped by the moon, flies over Gaza City on May 10, 2023. (ANAS BABA / AFP)
Snow falling on a January day has a slightly different feel than rockets raining down in May.

Here’s what it feels like when your country goes to war, and you’re sort of waiting for it to impact you directly. Well, more directly than the impact of waiting around waiting for it to impact you.

Picture this. It’s a brisk January day. The sun is shining, but you know it won’t last for long. You’ve been tracking the weather all week, and a storm from the Midwest (yes, the American Midwest) is brewing. It’s one of those big gnarly ones. You know the type: two feet of snow, no school for at least two days — plus, if you’re lucky — a fire in the fireplace, a snowball fight, and the inevitable wet and soggy socks from a day of playing. No matter how old you are.

“Now, now,” you say to yourself. “Don’t you get your hopes up. The weathermen are always wrong. There will be a light dusting, a full day of school, and temperatures in the mid 40s (Fahrenheit) for the rest of the week.”

Snow falling on a January day has a slightly different feel than rockets raining down in May. (courtesy)

But then it happens. It starts to get just a bit colder. The sky grows just a bit darker. What’s the name of that crisp winter delicious smell? No matter. It’s there. Your nose knows. Now, it’s just about waiting until 5 a.m. the next morning when school closures are announced, or maybe even…? No, don’t think it. “Do you think they will actually make the announcement before you go to sleep tonight?” you let yourself wonder.

And, of course, all you can think about is the impending snow day. Dooming for most people, delightful for teachers and children. I hold space for the latter.

Lists are formed. Driveway salt? Check. Fill up the car with gas, get extra snow day snacks, pull out the kid’s winter clothing? Check — check — check. And now you wait. You wait for the announcement that it’s official. You wait to find out for how long. You wait for the snow to fall and when it does, well.

You know how that feels.

We don’t get snow where I live in Israel.

What we are waiting to fall are missiles. Missiles with the aim to hurt myself and my children.

And what we are waiting for is the alert that will inevitably come when we are least expecting it.

Like a snow day, we feel the stillness in the air. Something is brewing. We are getting prepared.

Put some extra diapers and cozy toys in our bomb shelter. Check. Buy a few fun snacks in case the kids are home from school. Check. Close the metal window in our safe room, set the alert on our phones, check in with family? Check — check — check.

We shouldn’t know how this feels.

The shopkeeper down the block shouldn’t laugh it off as “This is how it is.”

We don’t get snow in Israel. We shouldn’t get missiles either.

Iron dome anti-missile system fires interception missiles as rockets fired from the Gaza Strip to Israel, in Sderot on May 10, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/ Flash90)
About the Author
Sara moved to Modiin Israel with her husband and children in the summer of 2021. She is passionate about early childhood education, hiking, and her family. And Israel - of course! Sara is currently writing a Parsha of the week book for children and their families. If you are interested in being a weekly Beta Reader, please be in touch!
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