The lake is a serene presence. It lies softly oblivious as the sky reflects its hues of blues reaching all the way to the heavens. Somehow they amalgam as one creating a tableau of nature unchanged in what feels like eternity, reflecting the true beauty of Lebanon’s nature.
The wild unchanged nature of Jannet Chouwen (Chouwen’s heaven) valley and river, in Ftouh Keserwan, 40 Km away from Beirut on an altitude of 600 m above sea level is one of the most picturesque places in Jbeil district, if not Lebanon. It lies near the village of Qartaba. Shaped like an eye, it feels like it’s the eye of nature watching the world from below.
Janneh, meaning heaven, as the name reveals, is a piece of heaven on earth and the lake is known as Jannet Chouwen. Nahr Ibrahim or “River of Abraham” is also known as river Adonis (river of immortal love) relative to the myth of Adonis and Astarte in Phoenician mythology (story posted: https://365daysoflebanon.com/2016/02/13/a-love-story-on-nahr-ibrahim/ ).
Like all places dominated by nature, the scenery changes with the passing of the seasons. In summer as the water from the mountains diminishes, the setting becomes drier under the baking sun, with only the shades of the trees to give mercy from the strong rays of the sun, yet the robust trees leaves seems to glow greener under the sun rays giving the whole scenery a kind of ephemeral beauty. In spring little wild flowers bloom here and there adding a certain pureness to this whole painted tableau.
The shoreline of the great lake is adorned with majestic trees of oak, pine and many other plant species, wearing their green coats of splendor. the only way to reach this natural treasure is to walk through its forest. The lake’s still waters reflect the images of the trees and the world around. The edge of the setting sky joins in the upside down picture that is changing by the moment. The lake always colorful in all its seasonal glory. The golden sun falls slowly on the horizon. The sky crumbles into rainbows of red. Eager to join the forming painting on the waters silvered surface as nature paints with her palette. Darkness cast her peaceful shadow, The wild life comes to the shoreline slowly, to join in all living things in a silent prayer of gratitude for such bounty. Standing there one feels that the trees, the animals, and humans are all as one life species speaking a language that needs no words