Music:  Music from the Heart

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Friday's Journal
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Older Than Time
I choose locations for my web pages in different ways.  Sometimes a book or TV show
will bring a place to mind.  Sometimes I look at a world or U.S. map and notice a
country or a state that I'd like to feature.  Often, for reasons that usually aren't
clear to me, I begin in one place and wind up in another.
A friend asked me if I still enjoyed putting the pages together after doing it for so
many years.  I told her that it's as enjoyable now as it was when I first started,
because I always learn something from doing the research or looking for photos.  That's
what keeps it fresh for me:  learning about places I haven't known about before.
Once in a great while, I'll find myself in a place that's so intriguing and so appealing,
that one website will lead to another until I'm immersed in the experience, wanting
to learn more and more.  It's on those occasions that I have to remind myself to stop
reading and actually get to work on a web page
That was the case with this page.  I can't say that I knew a lot about Lebanon before -
and I can't even say exactly how I came to choose it.  But I can say that I've thoroughly
enjoyed learning about its culture and its history - and that it's such an ancient and
intriguing country that I barely stopped reading in time to put a page together.
The title of the page comes from a quote by David Mitchell:  "Time in the woods
is older than time in clocks, and truer."
That can surely be said of Lebanon's ancient cedar groves.
And, I believe, of the nation itself.
-- Nancy
Above:  Al-Mina archaeological site in Tyre.  Tyre was founded around the third
millennium BC.  Excavations have uncovered Crusader, Arab, Byzantine,
Greek and Roman remains.
Top of page:  Ruins of the Umayyad city of Anjar
With one exception, which is noted, the quotations on this page
are all from Lebanese poet/painter/sculptor, Kahlil Gibran.
The city of Byblos is over 7000 years old - the oldest continuously inhabited city
in the world.  (Jericho, Palestine is older, but hasn't been continuously inhabited.)
Because papyrus was one of the principal articles in Byblos' trade, the Greeks took
the name of the city as their word for book - biblos – and from that they named the
Bible - ta biblia - which means 'the books.’  The city is also known as Jbeil.
Saint George Maronite Cathedral and Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque in Beirut.
Lebanon has the most religiously diverse population in the Middle East, with
18 recognized religions. The main two are Islam (54%) and Christianity (40%).
Keep me away from wisdom which does not cry, philosophy which
does not laugh and greatness which does not bow before children.
If you would understand another person, listen not to what
he says, but rather to what he does not say.
Above & below:  Market in Byblos/Jbeil
The real test of good manners is to be able to put up
with bad manners pleasantly.
Exaggeration is truth that has lost its temper.
Sea Castle, Old Citadel, Sidon
Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is
taking less than you need.
Tyre (also known as Sour)
The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the greatest intention.
Beirut is a city where nothing makes any sense at all - in the best possible way.  It is
the capital of a country with neighbor problems as serious as anyone could have, history
so awful and tragic that one would assume the various factions would be at each others
throats for the next century.  Yet you can go to a restaurant and see people happily
eating with their families, who in any other place would be shooting at each other.
Beirut is a beautiful city, with layers of scars the locals have ceased to even notice.
It's a place with tremendous heart.  It defies logic.  It defies expectations.
It's amazing.  Everyone should visit. -- Anthony Bourdain, Parts Unknown
Sisters Olive Trees of Noah, Batroun District
There are a few olive trees that claim the honor of being the oldest in the world.  The
trees pictured above, in the mountains of northern Lebanon, are among them.  They
are thought to be between five and seven thousand years old.  Folklore has long
said that one of these trees was the source of the olive branch brought back by
the dove to Noah, heralding the end of the flood.  They still produce olives.
When life does not find a singer to sing her heart, she
produces a philosopher to speak her mind.
Childhood home of Kahlil Gibran in Bsharri.
I have learned silence from the talkative, tolerance from the intolerant and
kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to these teachers.
Above, Al Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve; below, Cedars of God forest, Bsharri
Lebanon's remaining cedar forests have the distinction of being the oldest
documented forests in history, dating back to earliest written records in the third
millennium BC.  The Bible relates that King Solomon used Lebanon's cedar wood
to build his temple and palace in Jerusalem.
In ancient times, great Cedar Forests thrived across the mountains of Lebanon,
but after centuries of persistent deforestation, the extent of these forests has been
markedly reduced.  There are programs underway to try to ensure the continuity
of the Cedar trees and replenish the forests, which are in danger of extinction.
Above and below, Byblos/Jbeil.
To belittle, you have to be little.
Your daily life is your temple.  When you enter into it,
take with you your all.
Pigeon Rocks, Beirut
Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.
Bsharri - there are 26 monasteries in this valley, all more than 1000 years old.
Roman Theatre, Byblos/Jbeil
The land of modern day Lebanon has been conquered, decimated and rebuilt,
over and over.  As a result, there are remnants of many civilizations.
The true wealth of a nation lies not in it's gold or silver,
but in it's wisdom and in the uprightness of its sons.
My enemy said to me, "Love your enemy."
I obeyed him and loved myself.
The city of Baalbek holds some of the world's best preserved Roman sites.
You have your thought and I have mine.
Lebanon is home to three of the ten oldest cities in the world:

10) Beirut, Lebanon   5000+ years old
9) Gaziantep, Turkey   5650+ years old
8) Plovdiv, Bulgaria   6000+ years old
7) Sidon, Lebanon   6000+ years old
6) Faiyum, Egypt   6000+ years old
5) Susa, Iran   6200+ years old
4) Damascus, Syria   6300+ years old
3) Aleppo, Syria   6300+ years old
2) Byblos (Jbeil), Lebanon  7000+ years old  
is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world.
1) Jericho, Palestine   11000+ years old

This list is courtesy of
Deir el Qamar Synagogue, south-central Lebanon
Keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life.
To measure you by your smallest deed is to reckon
the ocean by the frailty of its foam.
I would rather have dreams and be the least among men,
than be the greatest with no dreams.
St. Paul Basilica, Harissa
Bsharri, birthplace of Kahlil Gibran
Progress lies not in enhancing what is, but in going forward toward what will be.
Faith is a knowledge beyond the reach of proof.
Music is the language of the spirit..
A sense of humor is a sense of proportion.
Monastery of Saint Anthony of Qozhaya, northern Lebanon