I've spent the week wondering at the quiet of this new place. Then, night before last, in the dead of night, there came a howling wind that rocked my hooch! I looked out the window and was astonished at the thick dust that blew through the camp, nearly blotting out my porch light completely. I have a new appreciation for the scriptural phrase, "the east wind." ("...if my people shall sow filthiness they shall reap the east wind, which bringeth immediate destruction.")
"In the Middle East this east wind is called a "kham-SEEN." The 'kh' sound is a hard 'H' that's forced through a narrowed throat, as if clearing the throat lightly. Besides the obvious destructive force of the wind itself, it brings thick dust that does three things worth thinking about, especially if you can see the symbolic nature of the phrase. First, it stings and blinds the eyes immediately. Second, the fine dust gets into your lungs and literally chokes you. Third, it darkens the sky and surrounds you with 'thick' darkness that you can feel.
"As morning came, the dust had abated, but the wind continued to rage throughout the day. By afternoon, as it began to subside, it had left destruction in its wake. It had strewn garbage all across the base, it had blown the plywood bus stops over and moved them around and broken some of them up, it had blown the Porta-Johns over and left human waste in big pools on the ground, it had even moved many of the heavy orange Jersey barriers from one spot to another! Some of the brave souls who had ventured out in the wind had opened their vehicle doors and had them wrenched from their grip, springing the hinges and making the doors unusable. Inside the closed buildings there was a layer of thick dust on everything. Going through one of these dust storms is an astonishing experience, though not nearly as astonishing as looking at the destruction after Hurricane Katrina."