Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Cedar tree

Part 2.  “On the wild trails of Mount Lebanon”: heading to town of Asaymout; (Mar. 3, 2010)

Pierre Bared, a middle-aged man, tall, svelte, with graying beard and three children decided to walk alone for 22 days on the wild trails of Mount Lebanon, crossing it from the upper northern town of Kobayat to the southern town of Marje3youn  in June 2008.

Pierre is now heading toward the town of Asaymout, an abandoned Christian village during the civil war because the neighboring villages are all Moslem Sunnis.  Two hours of marching amid squirrels, wood coal makers, and beehives.

There is a coffee shop by the dry river.  The next town is Sfire that has a school and a nearby ruin of a Roman Temple as shown by the guide-book.

Pierre sleeps in an abandoned house. The town of Sir El Donniye is in the valley but Pierre would have to retrace his step if he wished to continue south; thus he skipped this village.

In Douraya he met Halima and Nizar; the rooms are not connected: you have to get out to enter another room.  Water is heated outside and the toilet is Moslem or Turkish style at floor level.

Pierre learns that girls are married by the age of 14.  Pass the age of 18 girls are sent to Beirut for a second chance to get wed.  Nizar is the eldest of 18 offspring from the same mother; the father managed to marry another woman: Nizar has no idea how many half brothers and sisters are around.  Women and girls decline to have photos taken of them.

On the fifth day, Pierre let go of the heavy tent and left it at Nizar’s home:  he realized the tent will be of no use in tiny Lebanon where in any day of marching leads to many villages.

Hani, brother of Nizar, is a soldier assigned in south Lebanon; the time to reach his village on his rare vacations then he is about to rejoin his camp.  Hani told Pierre one the running myths in the region “the next small village was evacuated by its inhabitants because the sky rained stones because a church and a mosque were built side by side.”

The next target is the town of Ehden where he has to meet someone for a photo session planting a Cedar tree.  On the way he could vividly see the city of Tripoli on the sea-shore and the three tiny islands.

Pierre crosses the villages of Karm El Mohr and Bchennata on a hill-top. To reach the village of Souaki, Pierre had to cross a rickety bridge over a river. Many passerby warned Pierre that the only way to reach Ehden is by taking the asphalt road; Pierre avoids asphalt roads and he tried different wild trails to no avail: there are villages that cannot be reached unless you take formal roads.

In Ehden, Pierre sleeps at the municipality guest house and plants his tree and eats “mankoushi” before heading to his next target of Kannoubine (The Valley of the ancient Maronite Patriarchs and Saints).  Pierre recharges his cellular phone in Ain Tourine and discusses with a group of youth. It is routine for discussions to start with religion, especially with a stranger.

The purpose is to delimit the confession of the person and locate his origins in order to consider compatibility in mentality.  I tend to agree with Pierre that “Everyone has his religion; it is generally different by many ways from the religion of the group he adheres to”. 

On the trail, Pierre is surprised to see two wild horses. He eats cherries off the trees.  When he reaches Kannoubine the nuns first denied him access to the convent on the ground that doors are locked at 7 pm.

The nuns changed their mind at the pitiful sight of Pierre and let him in; the nuns bring him hot water, iodine, and rough salt to clean his blistered feet.  Then, they bring a platter of food.

Pierre sleeps in the nearby church of Sainte Marine. (To be continued)




April 2023

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