Day 4

June 27, 2003
Ortahisar
Near midnight.

I am in an elliptical mood.

A day divided into three parts: first we saw the weavers cut the finished small kilims from the looms, then we had a video editing lesson at Hatice’s house, and then we went to Hatice’s family’s garden for a picnic supper.

I made video and took pictures, taught video and took pictures, and took pictures and more pictures.

The day was full of pattern and color and thinking visually. Shaping words to it afterwards is difficult.

So I’ll just talk about supper in the magic garden, because it will stay and stay with me.

The experience is the same and different from last year: again we ate bread and pilau and salad and guveç, a slow-roasted stew of beef and vegetables, in the garden halfway down the side of the cliff, the freshest food anyone ever ate, with laughter and conversation in two languages. Again it was a sense of being in a blessed place. And this year we also went down into the lower gardens, saw the water cascading down the rock face, running in channels past daylilies, young tomato and pepper plants, where ladders of weathered branches were propped against the rock face or leaning on old fruit trees. We looked across through the narrow opening in the high stone cliffs on either side of us and could see the rock castle, the hisar of Ortahisar, lit gold by the setting sun. And then down again, deeper still into the valley, where I drank from a cold spring and walked in the shadows of a tunnel through the rock, through and into another garden, wild and full of fruit. Cherries to eat from the tree, dark and light, sweet and tart, and strawberries, too. We fed each other. A neighbor’s garden, said Hatice, but they didn’t mind us eating. A shallow cave in the rock face, up a short ladder, and we could see a basin carved into the floor. A tandur, Hatice thought, an oven like the ones we saw in Goreme, a bread oven like the one her grandmother used. No, Sultan’s husband Baris thought it was a place for making wine. We laughed and pretended to drink, then climbed down and ate more cherries from the tree. Up in the first garden again we drank tea as it got dark, packed up and climbed the steep slope to the car, with Hatice’s mother Kamile leading me by the hand so I wouldn’t lose my footing.

Ellen, Jen, Hatice, and I walked back to the village together, so that there would be more room in the car for Kamile (we’d gone to the garden in two trips). Hatice’s grandfather walked with us as far as the turn toward his house, and then we four continued down the hill through the darkened streets of the village.

And so much is missing from this journal entry. I leave out the substance of the day’s conversations, about our lives, about our choices, about our hopes. (…) And I haven’t written about the play of pattern on pattern, color on color in the weavers’ room this morning, as the kilims were cut and tied. (…) And I haven’t found a way to convey the still moment of warmth from one particular glass of tea, or the light in the eyes of two people when they connect with one another without needing language.

So this is an elliptical entry, full of gaps, full of absence. I miss my family tonight.

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