Friday, January 13, 2012

Ben Sira Knew Snow

My backyard this morning resembles a scene from the book of Sirach!

They say that snow was a once in a lifetime occurrence in Isarael, but Ben Sira, author of the book of Sirach, shows more than a passing acquaintance with severe winter weather, thus raising questions about what we think we know about weather in the last few centuries B.C. From today's Office of Readings:

He sprinkles the snow like fluttering birds;
   it comes to settle like swarms of locusts.
Its shining whiteness blinds the eyes,
   the mind is baffled by its steady fall.

He scatters frost like so much salt;
   it shines like blossoms on the thornbush.
Cold northern blasts he sends
   that turn the ponds to lumps of ice.
He freezes over every body of water,
   and clothes each pool with a coat of mail.