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.
“Lebanon’s exceptional location and its singular morphology have contributed to making it a hub of botanic biodiversity. It is one of the nuclear centers of genetic species of wheat, barley, lentils and vetch, their cultivation dating back more than 5,000 years. Other agricultural species originating from Lebanon include olives, figs, grapes, pomegranates and carob. Foods made from these plants lie at the basis of the local culinary traditions.
Towards a limitless cloudy sky, where the clouds hang beneath your feet in mercy of a day’s end, the gaze is drawn upward to the distant long summit. One could measure the tips of the mountaintops peak to peak with their small hands. Minuscule they stand, those tiny mounds. Yet up close they tower high, peaks in clouds in mystery and shroud, far and high, they reside.
“Your children are not your children.
They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you.
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls…
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
Khalil Gebran, The Prophet
I said the matter is love
She said alas love!
I said there is a cure
She said there is none, my eyes
I said I am going to go mad and leave this land
She said there is no land without love
I said I will weep
She said in vain
I said I am going to go mad
She said ah mere words
I said I will vent my sorrows
She said mere words
I said I will moan
She said others have tried
I said where is the compassion?
She said it has been folded away
Sabah & Wadih el Safi
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.
Some products have withstood the test of time because they are simply beautiful products. Molasses, dark, golden brown or velvety red colored, heavily textured is one such ingredient. The way it flows and glides along the spoon into a dish is a vision for food lovers and enthusiasts.
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.
Language propels everyday life and keeps us in touch with one another. One of our biggest assets as a culture and as a nation is a deep-seated, culturally cultivated humor that pervades every nook and cranny of our public discourse. Comedy is effective in altering our outlook and behavior, sometimes without us even realizing it.
Try to capture the sun-soaked skin and those visionary sparkles of the sea, which exist only between blinks. Some places you discover, somehow stay with you long after you’ve left. Places that seem to have lost their notion of time, where life seems to march to a different rhythm, a much mellower one.