Postcards from Istanbul

Istanbul, one of the most cosmopolitan and welcoming cities I have visited, is also a place of great beauty, with many breathtaking sceneries. The pictures below are for you to catch a small glimpse of all the beauty I saw there. 

Though I thoroughly enjoy travelling, it is a bittersweet thing to me. My mind somehow drifts back to Lebanon, my homeland. Despite all the troubles heating up back there, I seldom found any other country as beautiful, as peaceful. 

You have your Lebanon and I have mine, after all!

“In Nature’s Arms We Reside” 

When times of grief engulf your fragile heart,
As falcons callously surround their prey,

A golden sky, a glorious work of art,

With a single glance, will brighten your day
The cool breeze sends your entire body

To a heavenly land of endless joys

Listen to that celestial sound, faint, ready

The echo of rivers trickling in, that noise!
Nature’s bounty is an undying voice

And with the kind flower, wind, and rainfall,

Your heart will never be alone, rejoice!

Isn’t that the most valuable gift of all?
When distressed, in nature, home of all, hide;

For indeed, in nature’s arms we reside!

For years, I have found my refuge in nature. What better place is there? Nature is the entity that listens to my sorrows and worries, then washes them away with the brightness of its sun and the swiftness of its wind.

An ode to my country, home of the most genuine and robust resprestations of nature I have ever come across. That country is Lebanon. Recently, during the three days of Eid, celebrated right after the holy month of Ramadan,  I made a visit to the northern side of Lebanon. I was greeted with thousands of cedar trees and the beautiful ambience of ehden, a popular village that is engulfed with snow during the winter and adorned with flowers and clear blue skies during the glorious spring. Here is a little of what I got to see! 

This is my Lebanon, the Lebanon that we seldom see on TV. My Lebanon is a place of celestial sights and entertaining nights. It is a place of music, art, love, and nature. Gibran Khalil Gibran, born and raised in Bsharri, a beautiful town also in the northern side of Lebanon, had described Lebanon in the most sincere of ways:

” You have your Lebanon and I have mine.

You have your Lebanon with her problems, and I have my Lebanon with her beauty.

You have your Lebanon with all her prejudices and struggles, and I have my Lebanon with all her dreams and securities.

Your Lebanon is a political knot, a national dilemma, a place of conflict and deception. My Lebanon is a place of beauty and dreams of enchanting valleys and splendid mountains.

Your Lebanon is inhabited by functionaries, officers, politicians, committees, and factions. My Lebanon is for peasants, shepherds, young boys and girls, parents and poets.

Your Lebanon is empty and fleeting, whereas My Lebanon will endure forever.

You have your Lebanon and its dilemma. I have my Lebanon and its beauty. Your Lebanon is an arena for men from the West and men from the East.
My Lebanon is a flock of birds fluttering in the early morning as shepherds lead their sheep into the meadow and rising in the evening as farmers return from their fields and vineyards.”