Coastal mist settles on the mountains facing them as shadows begin to flood the valleys below. The air is mild yet in winter, its history and many tales fight against the roaring wind and against the past. Ehden, located 1,500 metres above sea level is a famous summer resort and touristic center, often called “The Bride of Summer Resorts in the North of Lebanon.”
Hasroun lies in the mist, serene and calm it hangs on the cliff. A village all forgotten, somehow time had missed. Slightly hazy in the mist, its red rooftops peeking out in between the trees that ignore them, like poppy flowers tall and straight they peep out of this colossal surrounding of mountains and cliffs that seem to embrace them.
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.
In the early morning, it tips its head back with valor. The Iris Sofrana peels back her feeble generous petals with drops and folds of lilac streaked canvas. Her elegant anatomy, stripped from the neck down, stands gracefully. Reaching skywards, ribbed with natural frill, raw with the colors of flower flesh white tiger stripes and purple veins, it curls towards the ground like tears and lifts up like laughter. Her petals cover her heart, the center of its being as if to contain some sacred secret that is gently holding at her bosom.
There are places that you remember, not particularly because they have a lavish décor but because there is something quite humane about them.
Sitting atop the mountain, overlooking the deep blue sea beneath, a light breeze strolling along the narrow path that leads to the little chapel below, stands saydet el nourieh church, “ our lady of the light.” Fenced with lush greenery and trees, standing between the sky and within hands reach of the Mediterranean, it seems like it is suspended right above the sea.
As twilight softly kisses the horizon, a sturdy breeze plays mischievously in this derelict beauty only a short distance from the center of Tripoli, to the south of the city, bordering enormous, intense apartments blocs. Forgotten domes and empty seats are taken captive by the resilient flowers that grow amidst this deserted space. Like little shreds of hope they peek out just above the ground, holding firmly to the dream of what was once an almost picturesque reality that has drifted into abandonment.
Lost in a flat surface where conundrum of colors take shape, the emotional overtones of expressionism come through to us from those visions of beauty created by the great Saliba Douaihy. His paintings although ultra modern somehow break away from what might seem the coldness of modernism by beautiful interruptions of his geometric lines with unexpected projections, and sensuous curves. With a minimum of flat colors he has been able to create a harmony and order, moving and motionless, where light and dark, shadows and hues of sunlight congregate creating scenes of pure esthetic beauty.
A pinch of coarse sea salt.
A dash of rosemary.
A bit of olive, almond, and coconut oil.
Blend together, put over fire, and stirred for about two hours.
Simple yet beautiful, the art of soap making
On the way to Tripoli, as you drive pass by Chekka, the feel of the country changes and you will directly notice that modernity has not laid its extending hands from this point forward. The road to Tripoli feels like life’s long journey, where one leaves life’s excesses and moves to a less hectic and chaotic state of being. The highway is calmer and the sky opens up to a horizon of a forgotten shoreline.