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February 7th 2010    Tim Candler

    Many years ago in the Sinai I woke up to a chilly morning with a sense that I had forgotten something.  I brushed my teeth with water from the Bowser, tried to scratch my back on the block wall we had almost completed and waited for the others to arrive with food.

    Usually it was cheese and bread.  Other times it was hardboiled eggs and bread.  Once it was salt fish and rice, and I spent the rest of that particular work day thirsty.

     But our crew was competitive in the wild and careless way.  Not for us the niceties of good planning and craftsmanship.  Over time the long wall we had been building developed a lean.  It had no structural purpose, rather it was an ornamental shield, and generally this lean was considered forgivable.   Creative perhaps.

    Around the noon break, we discovered the schedule for refilling water Bowser's had been rearranged.  Our wall had become a priority.  Proudly we emptied our Bowser, so that it could be refilled.  We bathed in its sparkling water and briefly we enjoyed its plenty.  But a part of the wall where the water Bowser was parked chose that moment of victory to succumb to its ill-considered footer.

     As it fell I remembered that today was my birthday.   And this idea stuck with me through the processes of recrimination that usually follow failure.   The ranting, the raving, the big-wigs in sunglasses and that wonderful panoply of emotion that results in blaming the weakest..

     However in the course of that life I had actually mislaid a month.  And I am glad that I had because the events of that day were not conducive to those celebrations a person usually takes on to mark the passing of time.

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