For the last couple of weeks, between the hours of two and five in the afternoon, our street is dead. Not a soul is outside, stranger still is the lack of life indicating sounds from behind gates and walls. Soon after midday it is very normal to hear the clanking of dishes as copious amounts or rice are eaten throughout Kurdistan, but after this midday meal all sounds of life disappear.

The heat causes a wave of inactivity as the sun’s effect is at a peak. Sleep is the most efficient use of the baking hours, giving energy for the still warm evening and night. It is a wonderful thing to see a country, culture and community to change in response to the overarching power of heat; it is humbling to recognise that productivity cannot be maintained in the height of summer, and that schedules must be adapted in recognition of human limitations.

Of course, as lives are affected by something much bigger and more powerful, desires in turn change. Ice cold water it preferred over sweet black tea, rest over rushing, and cool tiles over comfortable carpets. There is a kind of liberation that comes from adapting, although it means admitting limited control and greater influences, which is easier for some than for others.

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