What do grown-ups wear?
In church this week, our priest spoke of the necessity of listening – and hearing. He spoke of how important it is to be fully present for our spouses, our children, not just listening with half an ear and going “um hmmm, um hmmmm” (ulp! guilty!) He also spoke of how hard it is to truly listen and to hear when our minds are unquiet, and we have a lot going on in our lives.
Lent starts with Ash Wednesday – this week.
I am tempted to give up extra noise for lent – to live a more silent and contemplative life.
Here is the problem – I love silence. I do listen to BBC when I am in my project room or in my car, but other than that, I don’t fill my life with a lot of noise. Silence is my friend. So for me, seeking more silence is not such a good thing, it is more like feeding an addiction. Listening to BBC is, for me, probably a good thing, keeping me more connected to the world, less in my ivory tower. It confronts me with problems in the world, and inspires me with people who seek to make a difference, even in a small way.
But that is not the point. The main point is to be fully present, to listen to those who are speaking and to hear the heart behind the words, and to love them as Christ loves us. I know that silence is not my solution, that paying attention is the real test. Focusing, paying attention – that is a real challenge.
It would be easier to give up chocolate!
This is it – slightly better than yesterday, when we couldn’t see the sun at all, but the small, continuing headache tells me this is a sandstorm, ongoing. When you are in the middle of it (for those of you not here) one day seems endless, two days seems more than you can bear. The very air you breathe feels heavy. I tell myself it is a mist, but my sneezing and itchy eyes tell me otherwise.
We call it sandstorm, but I know what sandstorm is like – in Qatar, a sandstorm has SAND, it abrades your face, it piles up in the roads, it is very sandy sand, an English Patient kind of sandstorm. Here, it is sand the size of dust and grit. Your face feels dry and tight and gritty, there are no piles in your house, but your feet leave tracks across the thin layer of dust, so tiny it seeps through sealed windows and the bathroom exhaust fans.
In the midst of a sandstorm, Count Almasy explain the different kinds of storms:
This is from library.thinkquest and is short and sweet and explains the differences:
“In a few minutes there will be no stars. The air is filling with sand.”
Dust storms are common in arid regions.They are not to be confused to be sandstorms. A true desert sandstorms is a low cloud of moving sand that rises usually only a few centimetres and at most two metres above the ground. Above this level the air is almost entirely free of sand. Sandstorm consists of sand particles driven by a strong wind. It is rarer in occurrence.
Where winds are exceptionally strong and large quantities of loose soil are available, dust storms may develop. These can reduce surface visibilities to only a few metres. Normally only silt and clay particles are carried in suspension by the wind.
A dust storm approaches as a dark cloud extending from the ground surface to heights of several kilometres. It can take the form of an advancing wall or a whirlwind and are usually short lasting, although some storms of up to 12 hours have been recorded.
Within the dust cloud, there is deep gloom or even total darkness as the sun is blot out. A large dust storm can carry more than 100 metric tons of dust – enough to make a hill 30m high and 3km across the base. Dust from a single dust storm is often traceable as far as 4000 km. After a particularly violent storm in Algeria in 1947, red desert dust, mixed with snow, turned parts of the Swiss Alps pink.
The onset of dust storms is sometimes marked by an increase in respiratory infections and germs borne by the dust particles appear to be responsible for outbreaks of cerebral spinal meningitis.