Friday, February 16, 2018

A Snowball's Chance

Thought for the day: When you pray for rain, better carry an umbrella. 


[image courtesy of seniorark.com]
And if you pray for rain in the middle of a drought, maybe you should carry an umbrella that can also save that precious water, like this inventive fella. Waste not, want not, right?

If you think about it, umbrellas, like parachutes, have something in common with human minds. They all function best when they're open.

When you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in your life. [Eckhart Tolle]

That uncertainty, that willingness to accept that what one believes to be true may, in fact, not be true, is what I mean by keeping an open mind. Even so, sheer logic often tells us that some things are so off-the-chart improbable that we pretty much accept the fact that they're never going to happen. For example, when I walk out our front door tomorrow morning, I find it highly unlikely that a mountain would have sprung up in our front street overnight, or that the Atlantic Ocean would suddenly be lapping at our front steps, and what's more, I think most people would agree that such a ridiculous scenario goes way past improbable and hovers somewhere above the downright impossible. It's also highly unlikely that the U.S. Olympic swim team could swim laps in the middle of the Sahara Desert... during a drought.

                                                                           Or is it...?

[the Sahara Desert.- courtesy of wikipedia]

The Sahara desert is more than three and a half million square miles of sand, which is comparable to the area of China or the United States. That's a LOT of sand. (FYI: Even so, it's only the third largest desert in the world... behind Antarctica and the Arctic.)

Anyhow, In August of 2014, right in the middle of a relentless drought, something highly unlikely happened in this unforgiving desert. Something very improbable, verging on the impossible.

In Tunisia, in the middle of the drought, a lake was born in the Sahara desert... virtually overnight.

[image courtesy of morguefile]
A man named Mehdi Bilel trekked through the sandy expanse to attend a wedding, and when he returned home via that same route just three days later... he found that a 2.6-acre crystal clear turquoise blue lake, 10 to 18 meters deep, had miraculously appeared. Needless to say, at first he thought it was a mirage... (Wouldn't you?)

But it wasn't a mirage. As highly unlikely as it was, as improbable as it was, as nigh on impossible as it seemed, the lake was real.

The clear water soon turned a murky green, and the authorities issued a warning that the water might not be safe. They said because of all the phosphorus mining in the area, it could be contaminated or radioactive. Undeterred, the locals continue to flock to the water, which they've dubbed Gafsa Beach, or Lac de Gafsa, and they still contend that the lake was created supernaturally as a blessing to the people. And the lake, an unexpected and blessed refuge from the desert heat, has become a bit of a tourist attraction.

Geologists say a minor earthquake could've fractured an underground aquifer, allowing the water to rise to the surface. But no tremor registered, and no evidence of an aquifer has been found.

 Sometimes, something as unlikely as a lake in the middle of a desert has to be seen to be believed:


For clarification, this isn't the only lake that mysteriously appeared in the Sahara in 2014. On November 11, a lake also materialized in the Enuga State of Nigeria. It's now revered as a place of healing, and people travel from far and near to bathe in and drink the water. It's also not the first time this lake appeared in Nigeria. One of the elders in the area said the lake has actually appeared three times over the past 80 years ... always in the midst of the driest, hottest times... and then disappeared. Nigerian legend holds that if a righteous man scratches the ground on that spot while at prayer, the healing water will magically begin to appear.

Who knows? A natural geological occurrence with a simple explanation, or something supernatural, as the people there believe?

All I know is there's a snowball's chance in hades that it'll ever snow there.

                                                             Um, never mind.



Yep, it snowed in the Sahara last week.  In a small Algerian town... and it snowed there in December, too. In this world, I reckon just about anything is possible. 

Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't. [Mark Twain]

Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other. 




52 comments:

  1. I do believe that strange things happen for no reason at all, so the phrase "it'll never happen" should disappear. This is the reason I continue to buy a lottery ticket. And believe in Angels and other unbelievable things.

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    1. I'm with you. The older I get, the more I appreciate how inexplicable some things in life are. I reckon that's part of the price we pay for having a finite mind in an infinite universe.

      I believe in angels, too, but I skip buying lottery tickets. I'd rather spend the money on a candy bar. :)

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  2. How strange! But as they say, truth is stranger than fiction. Thanks for a very interesting read. I'm going to stay open minded, take my umbrella with me, and see what happens today! Hugs, Valerie

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    1. I'll stay open-minded, too, but I'll let my smile be my umbrella. (I HATE to carry those things!)

      Hugs back atcha.

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  3. Greetings Susan. I always enjoy reading your posts, especially the quotes you display. Whatever the reason for the lakes appearing, it provides much needed water for the locals - except when contaminated. Seeing is believing, and it snowing in the Sahara seems unreal! I enjoyed reading your well-written post. Blessings to you.

    Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

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    1. Greetings, Andrew. Thanks. I'm glad you enjoy my rather eclectic posts.

      Blessings back atcha.

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  4. That's rather wild. Obviously there is a place underground where the water is stored and something forces it to the surface. Believing it's a miracle works as well.

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  5. oh, I believe anything can happen anywhere. Right now, we need rain , but it always happens on the weekends. I wouldn't mind if it were in a snow version.... Happy Friday. I just threw a snowball at you!

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    1. We've been getting quite a bit of rain lately, so I'll try to shoo some of it your way. When I went out for the newspaper before 7:00 this morning, the temperature was already sixty degrees, so I think it's gonna be a warm one. And sunny! See? The rain is already headed your way. (I hope!)

      Happy Friday to you, too. (OOOOF!) Hey! It's not nice to pick on your elders... I just might have to throw an even BIGGER snowball at you! Heck, maybe a whole darned snowman! So there! Just as soon as I find some snow... (Maybe I should go to the Sahara...?)

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  6. I'm all for magic and stories and all the things out there we can't explain but that do exist. It takes interesting to a whole other level. :)

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    1. And your being "all for" the magic and unexplained stories in the world is part of what makes you a writer. All of those things feed the imagination.

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  7. I'm loathe to try and define it ... but I suddenly feel better. Happy Friday!

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    1. Super! Feeling better is always a good thing, whatever the reason. Happy Friday to you, too!

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  8. Susan, I like, nay love, the philosophical element of your posts! And I have shamelessly borrowed some of your interesting quotes which I may/will use in my Facebook page for my Charity-raising walking Group!
    CLICK HERE for Bazza’s friable Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

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    1. Thanks! I like, nay love, your comment.

      Very cool about the quotes. They aren't "mine," so you aren't really borrowing them. Besides, they're the kind of quotes that deserve to be shared. :)

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  9. Amazing! Some things just can't be explained, and yet there they are. Great post.

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  10. Have been struggling with cabin fever for a while now and know will be goin on for a while longer, friend Sue ... Middle of May til end of August is usually quite nice ... anyway ... Love, cat.

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    1. Sorry to hear about the cabin fever. My hubby goes stir-crazy from time to time, too, but mostly, I'm happy as a clam here at home. (I know... how boring!)

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    2. Lucky U, friend Sue ... Let's lite a fire and just sit there, hmmm? ... Love, cat..

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    3. Works for me! (Only we don't need a fire... it's in the seventies here today.)

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  11. Might take a lot of scratching to make it work lol weird how weather can materialize where you never would have guessed it could. Or pop up from the ground. We have to have an open mind indeed, as even if we think something is fact, heck, even if the whole world does, things can change that makes the fact false.

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    1. Yep, it's funny how the "things we know" have a way of changing over time.

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  12. We haven't had a winter here and I don't count the 3 sorta winter days 2 months ago. Well on Valentine's Day it started to rain. Nice lovely rain. and we will still have it for two more days ! Our desert needs rain so I guess we are almost as interesting as the snow Sahara.
    Before the rain came we had a fire warning and two wildfires one on the north and the other on the south of Tucson. Really it is only February and Wildfires already ! ! !

    cheers, parsnip and mandibles

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    1. I'm glad the heavens finally graced your area with rain.

      Those wildfires are horrifying, but it's extra scary to think about getting them this time of year. I hope you get enough rain to stifle the threat.

      Cheers back atcha. (Arf!)

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  13. A lake in a desert would be welcome, I imagine. Interesting about the one in Nigeria that comes and goes.

    It's still winter here *sigh* tho thankfully not as cold as it was.

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    1. The calendar says it's still winter here, too, but our windows have been open all day. The warm weather is very welcome, but I don't know if the cold weather is finished with us yet.

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  14. Fascinating and informative post, Susan! Used to think I was astonished out of ignorance, but the more I learned the more I was astonished. I learn here.

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    1. Dude!!! It's good to hear from you. I've been a teensy bit worried...

      Indeed. The more we learn, the more astonished we can be at how much we still don't know.

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    2. Dear intuitive Susan, I got stuff going on but worry won't help --Dudes charge and fumble through. Ok, "a teensy bit" is justified and appreciated, but only a teensy bit, not more, promise?

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    3. Okay, a teensy bit it is. I hope your "stuff" resolves itself soon. We need brainy dudes like you in the blogosphere. Be well.

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  15. Wow. This was a fun, and intriguing post! I'd think the scientists would be all over those lakes to see why they have appeared. That said, I'd rather just enjoy the mystical nature of the phenomenon. Hope you are well, Susan.

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    1. My scientific side is intrigued about the underlying reasons for these phenomena, but my writerly side loves the mystical nature of them.

      All well here, thanks. I hope all is well in your corner of the world, too. Have a great weekend!

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  16. I've never heard of the Tunisian lake - thanks for sharing the information. It's not only a miracle, it was obviously one helluva "tourist" attraction for the locals.

    I really love the photo of the snowbound camel. I can only imagine his surprise. And misery.

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    1. As far as I know, it's still an attraction. One interesting thing, though. In every picture and video I've seen regarding this lake, the only ones taking advantage of the cooling waters are males. I reckon females aren't allowed.

      Yeah, I reckon the camels were even more surprised by the snow than the people were.

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  17. Hi Susan - the Sahara had watercourses back in the day ... so not that unusual and oases are around (the Namib too - has ephemeral river courses - they burst into action occasionally, but the oases remain) ... I too find it so mind boggling. I hadn't heard about the Tunisian lake but can believe it, nor the Nigerian lake ... geology and planet earth are extraordinary.

    Snow - the Middle East is surprisingly cold ... and it snows fairly often - which always amazes me to think about it. We had snow in Johannesburg in 1981 I think ... funny old life - everyone was very bemused by the phenomenon ...

    Now I'm waiting for some snow to fall here - probably not, but up on the hills it may well leave its trail behind .. I can't see a thing now as it's covered in thick wet (very) mist! Perhaps I need one of your upside down umbrellas?!

    Enjoy the weekend - cheers Hilary

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    1. Hi-ya, Hilary. I knew about the oases, but I find these spontaneous appearance of large lakes quite fascinating. Yes, you're right. Geology can sometimes deliver the unexpected.

      If you want snow, I hope you get it. It feels like springtime here now, and I'm in no hurry to return to colder temperatures. :)

      Cheers back atcha.

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  18. Your posts are always full of funny, wise, important, not-so-important, crazy, useful, obscure information. That's why I love them! I didn't know about the lakes in Africa, but I heard about the snow in the Sahara. Crazy stuff!

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad to hear my eclectic posts are still floating your boat. :)

      I kinda thought those lakes in Africa might capture your interest. They're more intriguing than Florida's sinkholes, and a lot more difficult to explain.

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  19. Its so interesting. And yes, people do tend to start believing its miracle if something like this happens.

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  20. Life affirming loveliness! Would love to swim in a miracle :-)

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    1. Great way to put it. I'd like to swim in a miracle, too. :)

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  21. Have to wonder if the scientists have set up their cameras. A miracle for the people. Never enough of those...

    I keep seeing a world that spends it energies on solving the issues of water, hunger, and lack with skill, collaboration, and the goal of saving all the peoples of the world. Instead of this highly politicized, money hungry, war mongering!

    Okay, I'm an idealist. I can't help myself... Still I pray for that miracle!

    Hi, Susan! :)

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    1. Hi-ya! It's good to hear from you. :)

      I see the same world, kiddo. We might be idealists, but it's better to have hope for the future than to accept that today's state of dysfunction and vitriol is the way things will always be. We can do better. We HAVE to.

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  22. That's amazing! I would have never guessed that a lake could suddenly appear in the middle of a desert. Nor would I guess that it would snow!

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    1. I never would've guessed it, either. It's an amazing world we live in.

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  23. Australia is famous for its wildlife - kangaroos, koalas and numerous species of snakes and spiders - but it is also home to the world's largest herd of camels. There are about 750,000 roaming wild in the outback where snow never appears and they cause a host of problems. Camels were imported to Australia in the 19th century from Asia and Africa.
    I enjoyed reading your post. Vest Brit/Aus 91.6

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    1. I've read about the huge herd of camels there. Matter of fact, if I recollect, scientists were studying the impact on the environment caused by their out-gassing. (Somehow, I doubt if they've managed to solve that problem...)

      I'm not interested in your snakes and spiders unless they're safely tucked behind glass, but what I'd really love to see is a duck-billed platypus. Seeing kangaroos and koalas and all of your gorgeous birds in the wild would be fabulous, too, but seeing a platypus is kinda on my non-existent bucket list.

      Thanks for stopping by, mate!

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