"twist me a crown of wind-flowers, that I may fly away!" ~ Christina Rossetti
Saturday, October 20, 2012
A few years ago, on a road trip up into the mountains of north Lebanon, we traveled along the holy Qadisha Valley, up Mount el-Makmel, passed the village of Bcharre, and stopped at the Horst Arz (The Forest of the Cedars of God) where the artisans sell their souvenirs.
The cedar trees and grove at Horst Arz is a remnant of a once magnificent and huge sacred forest of cedars. The cedars that are left are survivors of thousands of years of travelers and takers. From building ships, temples, and palaces, to using its resin for Egyptian mummification and its wood for sacred fires, the cedars of the holy Qadisha Valley have been prized.
This particular tree, to me, is symbolic of the destruction of this once magnificent and holy forest. It has been mutilated. The small remnant forest on the side of Mount Makmel is a protected area. There is a path through the cedars that you pay to enter. Last year when I visited Lebanon, we went on different road trips. The cedars I saw at Tannourine, to me, were much more impressive. Traveling to Lebanon right now, however, is not practical.