an update from Israel 22.7.06

by Forest Rain, Lionheart

 Today I decided to go down to the clinic to do some computer work rather than using my laptop at home. The desk I have my laptop on when connected to the internet at home is a bit too high for comfort so when I need to be online for extended periods of time the clinic computer is more convenient. I have emails to answer, articles to write and work to do for the clinic. I’m stuck inside but I am not bored, there is much to do!  

The stress and tension in the air are exhausting. It is very hard to focus and effectively complete tasks I wish to do. My frustration at my lack of productivity made me especially pleased when today I finally managed to bounce down the stairs and go to the clinic, all set to get things done! In the short stretch between house and clinic I noted that many of the neighbors were outside, many on their front stoop enabling them to get inside quickly if the sirens went off. People can stay inside for only so long… There hadn’t been all that many katushas so it was reasonable to use the lull in the bombing to take in a bit of fresh air.  

In the clinic I put on a disc of the music featured at the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival I attended before college. The music has a strong, happy beat to it that almost forces you to be energetic and lively. It was exactly what my spirits needed!   

I danced around the clinic as I was straightening up and preparing everything I needed for the work I intended to do. Yes, it IS possible to be happy in a war zone! I plopped down in my chair, opened the messenger intending to check in with a friend in a different city, typed “Hi” and then boom! Immediately followed by BOOM!!!!!!!!!!  

It was so loud I was sure the katusha hit the street outside the clinic and it sounded like more explosions were coming. The clinic shook as I ran to the back and hunkered down on the floor in the safest part of the building (no windows or outside walls). The booms stopped, the building stopped shaking. Before I got up I had to wait a few minutes for my heart to climb down out of my throat and resituate itself in my chest cavity where it belongs. Cautiously I went to the front door, listening to make sure there were no other explosions before I opened it. There weren’t any so I opened the door and stepped out on the porch. I assumed I would see the katusha imbedded in the street in front of the clinic but instead I saw my neighbors, like me, standing outside, looking down the street to see if they could see the impact site.  I walked to the edge of the sidewalk and looked but was unable to see the katusha so I figured I was better off going back inside. As I reentered the clinic I heard the distressed cries of a neighbor from across the street. She was practically yelling: “Why wasn’t there a siren? How come they didn’t warn us?!”  

My mother (who was at home when the katushas hit and saw the flash of an explosion across from our house as she was running from the living room to the safer bathroom) called me to see if I was ok. She told me what she experienced at home and described what she could see out of the window – not only had there been multiple impacts, something was on fire.   

Only now, while writing this, do I realize that as part of arranging the clinic so I could work comfortably I set up pillows and a mat in the safest section of the clinic. I prepared a place to sit in reasonable comfort on the floor in case I would be under direct and immediate attack. I did this while dancing around to my happy Carnival music. People who live in normal countries don’t do that.  

It was few hours before I found out better information on what exactly happened in Karmiel today. 34 missiles hit Karmiel today (other towns in Israel were badly hit as well).  One was a direct hit on an apartment building. People were injured as well extreme damage being done to their apartments.  One man was severely injured when a missile hit his car. One missile caused the fire my mother saw. And the missile that caused the big BOOM? That was one of those miracles you might have heard about on the news where the report is: “missiles fell in an open area, no one was hurt and no damage was done”.  

That missile landed right behind my home, right behind the clinic. It landed 20 meters (45 feet) away from the building wall.   

After the missile landed, after I took a look around outside, came back in and spoke to my mom on the phone. I sat back down at the computer and had that chat I had attempted to begin before the attack. The Carnival music was still playing, reflecting a mood and a time that seemed far removed from my current here and now. I forced myself to surrender to the music and allow it to bring me to a calmer state. The music did not have the power to completely drown out the BOOM still reverberating in my spirit but as I moved the music did uplift my spirits, giving me back to myself.

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