The river flows and brings life back to this soil. It tells tales of life in a never-ending flowing pattern of liveliness. Calm and fast-flowing but unsuspecting of the path ahead it flows and ends up in the Mediterranean Sea, where it tumbles with its glorious white droplets of pure life soon to be immersed in uniformity with it as they mend as one.
“Had I not known it to be the kamoa hermel, I would from afar have taken it for a tower. And in fact it has much resemblance in form to that. Two quadrilateral masses rise, the one above the other, and are covered with a kind of pyramid, while the whole stands on a low pedestal of three steps, and rises to a height of about eighty feet. Hamath itself lies at a considerable distance further to the north, but the entire northern plain seen from the monument of Hermel was called after Hamath, the capital, “the land of Hamath.” At the kamoa hermel, in fact, a new district is entered and that point is the natural gate of the high plateau of Coele- Syria with its huge mountain walls. It is there that the Lebanon and anti-Lebanon ranges may be said to begin.” (from the book; Narrative of a journey through Syria and Palestine in 1851 and 1852, Volume 2)
I trace the lay lines from mountain peak to shaded valley via open plains, lined poplar trees and scattered land, as blue skies and crimson sunset’s smile turns to laughter. In these wild open fields where the grass turns brown in spots, there are wild flowers and dozens of scattered pebbles and grass under our feet. Bare trees with bend trunks; a cool breeze washes my face, as suddenly there are no umbrella trees to relief me from the rays of the sun. At night across the sky the stars align and if you look close enough you can see the stellar installation of this world’s cosmos. Indeed Taanayel is a world apart, as it is left to nature’s own devices.
Sea born mist hangs low, one can almost smell November in the vineyards. The grape leaves curl in fall colors and the sun has no warmth anymore, only last year’s vintage to shake the chill. Summer’s essence is held in a glass. Earths vocation and fruit lay sweetly in a bottle. You can still feel the summer’s Mediterranean sun in the bouquet of last year’s wine. This familiar scent of earth, water, and grapes is the scent of home.
They sit at the station, with nowhere to go, empty rusting trains asking themselves when will they reach their destiny.
The cave opens its great crumbling maw. Streaks of light fall on the sparse green blades, which dot the floor. The rocks push forth from the ground, like fingers reaching to air. These enclosed little caves of past human life lay empty, desolate, only the wind traverses them with ease. They rest soundless in the glen lit by diffused and dappled sun.
The silver of swamp lilies lip the land in wild haze as the stream takes possession of the land made wetlands. High up in the sky the clouds frolic in the sky, their dark shadows dissolve in water. This wetland is a secret, fertile, and full of life parcel, where birth and death are free and rife.
Aanjar has a special beauty. The city’s slender columns and fragile arches stand in contrast to the massive bulk of the nearby Anti-Lebanon mountains, an eerie background for Aanjar extensive ruins and the memories of its short but energetic moment in history.
Labneh (strained yogurt) is a daily food in the Lebanese diet and known by everyone and mainly eaten at breakfast. Go deeper in the country, into the Bekaa Valley or the Shouf Mountains, and another delicacy will unfold made in a terra-cotta bowl (labnet al jarra), where baladi and shami goats are respectively the main grazing animals that produce it.