Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • Somewhere on the brown desert road between Sohar and Al Ain, which traces a line from the Gulf of Oman to the United Arab Emirates, we pulled over on a narrow shoulder of the highway.

    It was dusk in the desert, and a rare storm was rolling in as the sky darkened. None of the drivers seemed sure how to handle wet roads, and traffic was crawling. Two dozen cars had stopped on the side of the road, lights flashing.

    We had wanted to get home to Abu Dhabi before dark, and to my frustration it was becoming increasingly clear that was not going to happen. Spurts of rain were pelting our windshield, highly unusual for this area in the Gulf. And I was getting nervous. Had there been an accident? Was there trouble up ahead? A military checkpoint? Why in the world was everyone parked on the side of a busy road, milling around and looking agitated?

    Rolling down the window, we asked a man who was waving his arms at us. “It’s ice!” he said. “It has not been like this for many years. Look! Can you believe it?!”

    And then we saw it—the little balls of hail and chunks of ice that dotted the ground. Everyone was giddy, smiling, and chattering excitedly on their mobile phones, telling friends and family what they were witnessing, with exclamations of disbelief and joy.

    I watched a man teach his young son how to make a snowball for the first time. The little boy was squealing with delight as the small orbs squished in between his fingers.

    A man walked up to me and gently placed a ball of snow into my hand, and smiled.
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.