The call of the wind breaks through as we all fall in line. Lost among the footfalls, the mountains are our shrines. As the rocks hold the beat, while nature sings her song and the sun brings its heat as the wind pushes us along, I think to myself how picturesque is this land, how beautiful is Lebanon.
There is something quiet poetic about the Lebanese landscape and how it is integrated in every aspect of our lives. Depending on the region, food, words, dialect, and dress changes. Different religions and areas all have slightly different undertones to their dress and way of life, yet somehow they all seem to mesh together in creating this cultural heritage that is very much what makes this country not only so diverse but so rich in culture.
Driving in the city, under the scorching sun, we stop at an assuming little ice cream shop on the ground floor of a rundown building carrying bullets that echo of a past life that reverberates of times where bombs ripped the city’s skies. Echoes that no one hears anymore amongst the city’s cacophony of sounds.
There is something quiet exceptional about ka’ak bi halib, or milk cookies. The mahleb and the anise echo the flavors and fragrances of home. Soft, chewy, buttery, sweet, fragrant, and comforting, they melt in your mouth, leaving behind the after taste of aromatic spices.
“…the miserable village which still bears the name of Afqa at the head of the wild, romantic, wooded gorge of the Adonis. The hamlet stands among groves of noble walnut-trees on the brink of the lyn. A little way off the river rushes from a cavern at the foot of a mighty amphitheatre of towering cliffs to plunge in a series of cascades into the awful depths of the glen. The deeper it descends, the ranker and denser grows the vegetation, which, sprouting from the crannies and fissures of the rocks, spreads a green veil over the roaring or murmuring stream in the tremendous chasm below. There is something delicious, almost intoxicating, in the freshness of these tumbling waters, in the sweetness and purity of the mountain air, in the vivid green of the vegetation.”
Sir James Frazer describing the village at Afqa in his 1922 book, The Golden Bough
The discovery of copper marks the beginning of the metal era in the Orient. Copper was first used as an alloy in the composition of bronze, and hence in the production of weapons like daggers, spears, arrows and swords. It was also used in the manufacture of household utensils and even in some jewelry.
The Mediterranean breeze waves wash upon a soothsayer sand beach whispering love poems between each sigh. Lustrous sunshine, massaging with temperate, beams beneath the waves. Turtles twist in tubular turnabouts as the shimmering sunshine shines through waves casting shadows and light amongst a sea spectrum. A faint breeze ghosts through the swaying banana trees. Crabs scuttle along the precipice of the sea and sand, as the waves wash the crooked edges of stones. This is the idyllic habitation where sea turtles meet the sand to lay their eggs in hope that one day those tiny creatures left defenseless will meet their sea again.
Tucked away on a winding road, through the picturesque gardens of mulberry trees, amongst beautiful olive groves and grape vines, the silk museum resides in the serene town of Bsous, recounting tales of a once prosperous dreamy Lebanon.
“one person can make a difference and everyone should try it” John F. Kennedy
Plump and ready, sun-kissed under the blue Mediterranean Sea, the ripe fig with its dried-up skin sags desiccated on the limb with its sweetest nectar concealed deep inside.