sábado, 24 de diciembre de 2011

The Cedars of Lebanon

One of the good things about having family visiting is that I have to do all the sight seeing I usually don't take the time to do. I recently had my sister-in-law over and we decided to take her to what I consider the "heart" of Lebanon: the Cedars.

To me, going to the Cedars is like going on a pilgrimage. There is something very special about the drive up, leaving the craziness of Beirut behind and seeing the change in climate as I drive up and up.

We passed the beautiful town of Bcharre, with incredible rock constructions and tall towers. The view from up there is breathtaking.

We soon got to the Cedars. I had been there in May this year, and I was surprised to find a completely different sight this time. There was snow! And it was pretty cold I must say. But the snow made the sight even more majestic.

We walked around the Cedars in silence for a while. It is very solemn, being in the presence of these giants. They have witnessed so much. And they still grow tall and strong, some as high as 35 metres (115ft)!

This area is very much protected, as there are unfortnately not a lot of Cedars left. However, the Lebanese have made this tree their symbol. And it is a mighty one. These trees can withstand time, war and inclement weather. They grow strong and are incredibly generous with their shade and their beauty. They are resilient, a trait that all Lebanese will tell you about when talking proudly about their people.

I found this biblical quote that I think captures the spirit perfectly: "The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar in Lebanon" (Psalm 92:12)

It is true that the Lebanese are incredibly resourceful, entrepreneurial and resilient. It is true that in the face of all the horrors they have witnessed, many would have gotten lost in despair and given up. And to me it is almost poetic they have decided to make this tree a representation of who they are. When I am among these giants, I cannot help but feeling how transient and fragile my life is. How precious it is and how easily it can be destroyed.  The Cedars of Lebanon are witnesses of it all. They have seen many like me, walk around, thinking about little sorrows and little worries. Problems that seems so real and that in 25 years will be completely forgotten. But they will be there. Immobile, grand and impartial.


Let's hope the Lebanese are wise enough to preserve these treasures for generations to come.

PS: Even U2 wrote a song about them. Check it out!

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