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Reflected First Light

The monastery is still in shadow when the first light of a new day shines on the mountain peaks beyond the chapel of the Prophet Aaron.

Bell Tower and Minaret

The bell tower and minaret at sunrise. The cross on top of the bell tower is a favourite perch for doves and grackles in the early morning.

New Shoots

Every spring, the Burning Bush puts out new shoots.

In the year 383, Egeria made a pilgrimage from her native Spain to Jerusalem, after which she continued on to Sinai. It took her twenty-two days to travel along the Mediterranean, down the west coast of the Sinai peninsula, and then east to Pharan and Mount Sinai. She writes,

Propterea autem ad caput ipsius vallis exire nos necesse erat, quoniam ibi erant monasteria plurima sanctorum hominum et ecclesia in eo loco, ubi est rubus; qui rubus usque in hodie vivet et mittet virgultas.

It was necessary for us to come out at the head of the valley, because there were very many cells of holy men there, and a church in the place where the bush is, which same bush is alive to this day and throws out shoots.

The Oldest Almond Tree

The oldest almond tree is almost dead, but it still manages to put out a few blossoms every spring.

More Almond Blossoms

The almond blossoms are in stark contrast to the granite mountains that surround the monastery.

A Sinai Honeybee

For a few weeks each year, the honeybees have lots of flowers with nectar and pollen.

Almond Tree in the Morning Sunlight

An almond tree in the morning sunlight, with the northwest corner of the monastery fortress wall.

Almond Blossoms

When the almond trees bloom, it is the first sign of spring. They seem eager to emerge from the dormancy of winter. The fig tree is much more cautious. It is the last to put out new leaves.

Ἀπὸ δὲ τῆς συκῆς μάθετε τὴν παραβολήν· ὅταν ἤδη ὁ κλάδος αὐτῆς γένηται ἁπαλὸς καὶ τὰ φύλλα ἐκφύῃ, γινώσκετε ὅτι ἐγγὺς τὸ θέρος.

Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh. (Matthew 24:32)

Garden Gate

The garden gate with the first almond blossoms.

Carved Mouldings

Carved mouldings on the southeast corner of the basilica catch the sunlight in the middle of the day