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The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918

Meteorical Reflections

Meteorical Reflections.

I suppose every man Jack of us has, at one time or another, reflected, or remarked, upon the numerous meteors seen since arriving in this land of the Ancients. The subject often causes much controversy, which, when carried on within the precints of one's bivvy, tends to become slightly too warm for the climate. These discussions generally end without any decision being arrived at, as to whether meteors occur more frequently in Palestine; or the nocturnal habits we have cultivated during the past few years have greatly sharpened our powers of observation. I am not attempting here to solve the problem; but, personally, I am inclined to favour the former explanation.

Accepting this as the case, and allowing for belief in the legends told to us in our infancy, we are forced to surmise, that the annual birth rate here should be far in advance of that in any other part of the world. Perhaps there is more truth in the Old Wives' tales than we thought.

During the Beersheba-Jerusalem push, my interest was keenly aroused by what some may term a peculiar coincidence. On the night of the memorable 31st. of October, when Beersheba passed into our hands, a most brilliant meteor flashed across the sky lighting the darkened heavens like some enormous star shell, and leaving behind it a trail of fire which lingered as though loath to yield to the powers of darkness. One of my section mates remarked, "A sign from heaven to commemorate our success".

The incident passed from mind, only to be vividly recalled on the night of November 6th., when our squadron was clinging to an unenviable position among the hills. I was on listening post, lying on a flat rock, shaking with cold and heeding the weird cries and jabberings of "Jacko", when I witnessed the fall of a second meteor, whose brillancy, if possible, eclipsed that of the first. Its advent was full of significance, appearing to us as a sign of triumph at a time when "Jacko" was making things uncomfortable. Did it really portend anything?—I wonder. We withdrew about daybreak, and rode back to Beersheba, where the first news that greeted us was that of the fall of Gaza and Sharia, on the previous night. Was the flight of the meteor merely a coincidence? I leave that for you to decide.

Whether we interest ourselves in such stars or not, it is possible that they will command our interest. This was the case with a non com., who chose a predestined meteor as a point to march on; he overlooked the fact that he was not leading a troop of Bristol Scouts.

The history of Palestine has been, and still is, closely connected with that of stars; although the present ones differ greatly from their heavenly namesakes, they are subject to natural laws. Not possessing any myself, I can't discourse upon them: But in my reflections on meteors some may find food for reflection.