In the fall of 2009 I traveled to Jordan and Syria with a group organized by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Since the outbreak of Syria’s civil war, which to date has killed some 93,000 people, I’ve often thought back to the peaceful country I visited just a year and a half earlier. I found a landscape of green hills, desert and sea that in some ways resembles Oregon, cities full of friendly people and intriguing souks, and everywhere wonderful smells of fruit, spices, and flowers. I think back on those scents and they return to me as an emblem of Syria’s beauty and a prayer for peace. Here are a few photographs of my trip.