After defrosting the windows of my car, I left the house at 6.30 a.m.; an earlier start this morning. I relished the sense of being among the first out and about in the early morning quiet before the day really got humming.
I was doing a bit of running about, "helping" (and I really use that term very loosely) set up a computer lab for some training.
A stockily built man hurried towards the Go Station, a bag strapped across his chest, head down, eyes still groggy. A woman coming down the road behind him yawned as she headed in the same direction.
A man at a bus stop clutched a paper cup with coffee and a bagel wrapped in waxed paper--the morning survival kit.
A pink flush spread across the pale blue morning sky as the dusky dawn gave way to daylight and I noticed palm trees silhouetted against the sky--the plastic palm trees of the Palm Springs Car Wash. I have seen real palm trees recently--and the Bradford car wash palm trees were a spidery imitation of those lush and bushy trees!
My mind was back in Israel at the Dead Sea, thinking of how many times I have been asked the question since I got back, "Well, did you do it? Did you float in the Dead Sea?"
I went into the change rooms and after a brief surprise that they were communal, changed--trying to avoid seeing other people's naked bodies and feeling slightly like Mr. Bean in his skit where he changes on the beach.
I gingerly picked my way down to the beach on a path of sharp stones, thinking that I should have rented rubber sandals back at the change rooms.
Down at the shore, lined with the thick mud that is so reputed to be healthy and which some nearby women were enthusiastically daubing over their bodies so that they looked like African tribeswomen, I tried the water with my feet and decided that enough of me had been "in" the Dead Sea!
This was a disappointment to Paul, who seemed very invested in me actually floating in the water. "You can't come all this way and then not go in," he said reproachfully.
"Whose vacation is this?" I asked, "Shouldn't it be me who decides if I want to go in?"
I had no desire to soak myself in salty water which would have to be rinsed off under a cold water shower and then have to peel out of a wet bathing suit in a room of shivering nakedness.
I knew that I would have much more fun watching other people who actually wanted to be in the water having fun and floating, and recording that in photos for them. So that is what I did--and had a wonderful time doing so!
This is Esther, popping up above the water! And just below is Pastor Dave, thoroughly enjoying the experience of weightlessness and inability to sink.