March 25, 2012

There is Beauty in Everything

Sandy road along the river

I went down into the valley of the Beirut River, near Rousseit el-Ballout, on Sunday. That is somewhere in the Metn/Chouf Mountains. Second picnic of the year. It is still a little early; I can see that from the length of the grass and the quantity of wildflowers. Usually we wallow around in knee high grass, with bees buzzing about. Or maybe nature is late. This winter has been short but cold. Funny to think that while I’m outdoors having a picnic in T-shirt, people were still skiing today. 
Beirut River with 'art'

But from the thousand-and-one wads of textile hanging in the trees branches along the river bank, I know that most of the snow that feeds this river seems to have melted; the level of the water obviously was quite a bit higher this winter.

This multicolor display of little bits of plastic, textile and cloth reminds me a little of prayer flags in Tibet. Or even better! The Wish Trees in Armenia, where old customs dictate that it brings you luck. (Thank you Miss Footloose!)  So there’s your title, it’s terribly polluted, but in its ugliness there is some beauty. Technicolor, all along its banks. It is almost an art project.

There's even beauty in trash

The place has changed quite a bit since we had our final picnic there last summer. The beautiful meadow with the old water mill has been transformed into a farmyard. A cinder block barn has been set up with corrugated iron sheet roofing for some sorry cows, that I doubt produce any milk, there’s just not enough grass around there. There’s a mangy dog and some chickens, and all the waste they produce gets shoved right into the river.

A beautiful hole formed by rolling stones on the riverbed
My daughter found me a heart.

A pine cone lodged between an rock and a weathered branch, polished smooth by the water

I liked the roots on this tree, but the tire was in pretty good shape too.

You cannot really blame anyone. The pace of life in Beirut is so fast these days; everyone wants a piece of the cake. And if that means you’ve got to build a farm on the banks of a beautiful river, in the middle of a pine tree forest, then so be it. I can hardly say anything; my life style here in Beirut is a great contributor to the garbage.
This means for the next picnic we have to go deeper into the valley. Eventually that is going to happen with a lot of spots in this country; we’re going to have to go further and deeper in-country to find pristine valleys.  

Even this dead cameleon was beautiful


visnja said...

... ' almost an art' .... indeed!!! have a great week!

Anonymous said...

Sietske, you could have easily sold that tire for 20$ ;)

Miss Footloose | Life in the Expat Lane said...

Seeing with "different" eyes makes you see beauty where others don't, and the art of nature is fascinating.

The rags and plastic hanging in the trees remind me of trees near monasteries in Armenia, where people will purposely tie scraps of material or hankies on the tree branches. An old "pagan" custom that is supposed to bring luck.

Mooie foto's!

Sietske said...

Ja, juist, die bedoelde ik dus, waar ze die stukjes stof in de boom knopen, maar ik kon me niet meer herinnneren waar dat gebeurde, dus maakte ik er maar van die dingen in Tibet van. Dat was de 'Wish Tree' van het Geghard Monastery ( Ga het meteen veranderen. Bedankt!!

Anonymous said...

too bad this area used to be very nice.The Lebanese are doing a good job polluting what once was a nice country very sad