Helen Alesbury writes:
Damn. Only one week left (for the first session). One more week of back breaking pick axing, toreah (giant hoe on steroids) work, moving tons of stones and earth, painfully bending down to articulate walls, and sweeping dirt from dirt. What. A. Shame.
No really, this time has slipped by very quickly, despite the fact that we get up at 4 in the morning every day and drag ourselves to the bus and then up (in area Q’s case) to the top of the tel to begin some invigorating 5 AM pick axing, this week seems to have gone pretty quickly. Well, most of it. There is something wrong with the time between 5AM and 8:30AM while we wait for breakfast. I am fairly certain that at some points, time actually STOPS. No matter how much time you spend staring at your square, or pointing out the gopher holes (our area gopher has been named Stanley) or just sitting on the balk when you are not supposed to, it remains 7:15 for about 45 minutes. No joke. We have attempted to keep the “do not announce the time” rule in effect, but when it starts to be about 8:15 and we get all excited (hell, even when it is 6:15 we get excited…..the sun is officially up!), we can’t really help it. There are cheese and onion sandwiches waiting for us at the bottom. I must say, it was interesting the first couple of days to have the cheese/hummus/tuna sandwiches for breakfast, now, after two weeks, it has gotten kind of bland and ordinary. We need some pancakes…..no, I cannot, nay, will NOT think about tasty foods that are quite impossible to obtain in the near future. But really, we all need a good, hot, perfectly brewed cup of coffee and a lawn chair, rather than a wheelbarrow to recline in.
After breakfast we go back up to our areas and continue the relentless pick axing and clearing. We have come a long way in area Q. We started with nothing but a rocky, grassy terrain and now have our 5 by 5 squares that are getting quite deep. My square (along with Christopher and Naomi from Norway and England respectively) has a very substantial wall and some impressive pottery pieces, though that is nothing to the whole pot, and grind stone with pestle that our neighboring squares have discovered. Whatever, they don’t have walls like ours. Overall, area Q has gotten quite interesting
Now, as the week reaches an end and everyone is organizing the weekend, most are going to Jerusalem, and a good amount are first going on the field trip to Gezer and Ashkelon on Saturday to have a tour of their digs.
No matter where we are going, we are all just hoping that it cools down. We knew it was hot, but apparently it has been abnormally hot for Israel the past few days and especially the last couple of mornings we have been waking up to a cold damp haze that sits on our skin and prevents any cooling later in the day when the sun breaks through the hazy clouds. The humidity just sits on my skin and makes movement hard, much less pick axing. Regardless, we keep digging, keep on sweeping dirt (as crazy as that sounds) on the off chance that we find Josiah’s diary, or Solomon’s underwear. This weekend though is mainly just to enjoy Israel and explore Jerusalem, because sadly we only have one week left…what a shame.