I have beautiful memories from my childhood walking through the mountains near my house and exploring the huge temple that was surrounded by the oak and poplar trees and laid down lots of leaves to walk in. Through walking at the leaves and watching the artifact that God created to us, I found myself that I was connected to the amazing nature that made me feel lucky to grow up with freedom to explore the natural environment around me and have a connection with my environment and culture.
Thousands of years, Baalbeck was an ancient Phoenician city in Lebanon, its name related to the Roman ruins at Baalbek, ‘Baal’ means Lord and ‘beck’ means Beckaa Valley and that was the place where Baal or Lord first arrived at the earth.
Baalbeck, as the Roman ruins, has an amazing beauty of architecture, chiseled by great ancient Roman. Its ruins have a good connection with nature. The stones can talk beauty, and the sky above is unfolded, blue images mixed with a silver lining. You feel the sun that belongs nowhere but there.
Since my father passed away, my mother decided to build a house there near her parents, and that what happened. I grew up in this house with my sisters, brothers, and grandparents who helped my mom of raising us. I learned a lot of traditions from them and that was during our outdoor activities. Summer in my hometown had different flavors than anywhere else. Between the two mountains and lots of hills, where the air is fresh and the sunrise is like a beautiful bride in her wedding dress, the birds chant across the sky flying from rooftop to rooftop and the green trees surrounded that Roman temple, people celebrate the beginning of the season and gathering all together in Baalbeck, the city of the sun. Adults and kids started their celebration, dancing in a circle to traditional Lebanese music, holding hands and singing altogether. Throughout my experience with nature, that place tattooed in my heart and reminded me about every single minute I enjoyed it being there with my family, grandparents, cousins and friends, with whom we were always walking in the street, splashing in the water, creating things out of the leaves, enjoying the festival in the Roman ruins and followed the sun until it set in the evening, and fell in love with the scent of flowers and trees. Over time, I became curious about how nature was created. It has given me something that has a hard time explaining. I have come to find that the environment is more than we can see, nature gave me the chance to explore what God created for us and what he is capable of. I remembered my teacher when she took us to the ruins and explained the history lesson in the fresh air, and she was always advised us to protect that environment, and repeated Margaret Mead’s quote: “We will not have a society if we destroy the environment”.
I believe that everyone in my culture has the same view, they see that the environment is a gift from God and should be loved and protected in order to have a healthy life, but unfortunately, there are a very few people that don’t care, they tree their trust everywhere and destroyed the environment. Everyone has his own beliefs on how he sees his environment. Those people never changed my feelings about my first place that I was born and explored every single minute I spent it. Baalbek is my city where the Roman temple was built. I’ve lived there for a little longer time before I moved to the USA and got married.
Now as a mother of two little boys, I am always encouraging my kids to play outdoors to explore the nature, and every summer on vacation I visit my country and take my kids to that time that I had gravitated to it. I want them to see and learn about my traditions and cultures. This is what all kids should learn from natural word to love it, protect it and explore, because the freedom they will experience will give them lots of benefits in the future.
There are special days in my heart for every evening, decorated by the stars, moon and flattered fresh crispy gust, I felt it in every deep breath I took, I just wonder how could anybody has the courage to harm the mother nature and disturb the environment that both gave us direct influence on our health and behavior. We should cherish that God gives it to us and join together to protect that blessing and leave our kids a very clean environment.