Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Lebanon: Not a normal autumn in Beirut this year.

Artwork by Tarek Chemaly (Autumn in Beirut)

There is a proverb that goes: Autumn in Beirut and spring in Damascus.

Both cities are renowned to be blessed by temperate, lovely weather in those two seasons. Sure, some years Beirut goes directly from hot-summerish to cold and very winter-damp (with humidity that either sticks to the skin or pierces to the bone). But in the years when autumn hits, it's precisely that wonderful passage between the seasons. I have moved from Beirut in 2010, and where I am there is that temperate lovely transition whereas technically we are still not in autumn.

By now, we tend to cover up at night, the August congestion has left the weather. People tend to wear an additional layer at night. Veranda sitting is brought-down to a minimum. And of course, any student would be now in pseudo-panic mode because yes, it is back to school mood. Actually, you feel the kids really - really - milking the end of summer by playing more intensely to make up for the days that will come especially that this year schools in Lebanon are gearing up to welcoming the students in situ.

Sure, this autumn seems more melancholic than normal. What's with all the issues compounded on top of one another and all the rationing in addition to all the economic downfall that has laid its great shadow on the Lebanese population. And this too can be felt in the air. Almost palpably. Yes, yes, new government has been formed yada yada. But people are now more realistic. At least more of them are. They know how difficult the situation is and that the times of miracles are long past. 

So there, a new season is upon us.... and yes, "the autumn leaves" will soon be drifting "by the window". Tomorrow we will make a big cleaning in the upper floor as we prepare to lock the house upstairs for winter.... Still too early to do so downstairs. But there is nothing usual or normal about these times. Just one foot in front of the other, one day at a time.