A sad goodbye to Lebanon

I can’t say it enough; Lebanon is a beautiful and breathtaking country and tonight I’ll be graced with it’s last sunset. I quickly learned that the best way to wrap up my day and unwrap my evening was to wave a little goodbye to the sun.

Heading out to Larnaca tomorrow and on to Dubai the following day, it’s been sad and a little difficult for me to find it in my heart to leave. I don’t want to walk away from the people, the environment, everything and anything which brought me and kept me here with a smile on my face and a full heart.

My two favourite pictures from this trip are the first sunset I met in Lebanon:
12Aug06 Sunset over Beirut

& this moment captured was one of the happiest I had while Beirut served as a mistress; on this particular day, my emotions had run the spectrum available to them and as you should be able to see on my face, I was happiest when the photo was taken. With me are Thunder, an Arabian race horse, and its rider Ahmed:

I’ll also leave you with my favourite poem, penned by Gibran Kahlil Gibran, one of the greatest poets to grace us, born in Bsharri, North Lebanon…

The Playground of Life XIX
One hour devoted to the pursuit of Beauty
And Love is worth a full century of glory
Given by the frightened weak to the strong.

From that hour comes man’s Truth; and
During that century Truth sleeps between
The restless arms of disturbing dreams.

In that hour the soul sees for herself
The Natural Law, and for that century she
Imprisons herself behind the law of man;
And she is shackled with irons of oppression.

That hour was the inspiration of the Songs
Of Solomon, an that century was the blind
Power which destroyed the temple of Baalbek.

That hour was the birth of the Sermon on the
Mount, and that century wrecked the castles of
Palmyra and the Tower of Babylon.

That hour was the Hegira of Mohammed and that
Century forgot Allah, Golgotha, and Sinai.

One hour devoted to mourning and lamenting the
Stolen equality of the weak is nobler than a
Century filled with greed and usurpation.

It is at that hour when the heart is
Purified by flaming sorrow and
Illuminated by the torch of Love.
And in that century, desires for Truth
Are buried in the bosom of the earth.
That hour is the root which must flourish.
That hour of meditation, the hour of
Prayer, and the hour of a new era of good.

And that century is a life of Nero spent
On self-investment taken solely from
Earthly substance.

This is life.
Portrayed on the stage for ages;
Recorded earthly for centuries;
Lived in strangeness for years;
Sung as a hymn for days;
Exalted but for an hour, but the
Hour is treasured by Eternity as a jewel.

To those of you who have sent hundreds of emails, thank you for your kind words and prayers and encouragement (& occasional ‘what the fuck are you thinking?’). I wasn’t thinking; I had the opportunity to help with an evacuation and so I did. Which is the way it should be. You’re all in a special folder and I promise to respond to each and every one of you individually. Thank you. Love you. Owe you.