No.12 May 2001

The Importance of Being

Home

Contact Us

Hotels

Tours

Shops

Restaurants

 

I heard that Orhan Veli had once written a poem about spring in Istanbul, how it was so beautiful it was difficult to get anything much done, that he tended to spend all his time sitting at a cafe in Rumeli Hżsarż, close by the Bosphorous, just looking.  I understand this very, very well.  These are the days when I start to hate having to go to work.  Everything inside me wants to go to a cafe by the Bosphorous, as Orhan Veli did, where I can sit, drink tea, write, and just stare out over the water and dream.  Thinking to quote from his poem here, I searched the Internet for forty-five minutes (something I’ll no doubt rue when the phone bill comes), but couldn’t find it, so the allusion will have to do. 

Yes, I know there’s an economic crisis.  I know, I know, I know, but . . . grousing about this or that which ails us seemed quite out of place last month when I started writing this column because it was April -- April in Istanbul   Now, April, anywhere, has been a bittersweet time for me for some years now, but that having been said, there is still much to recommend April in Istanbul.  It’s undeniably gorgeous, lush, embracing – it was even difficult for me to stay melancholy inside an April in Istanbul.  Even in an April when the economy went belly up.  Now, as we go to press, it’s May.  The economy is still unbelievably terrible (our salaries were late this month) but how can one quibble about details like that when this amazing season continues to unfold. 

In the mornings the air is soft and warm and you know it’s time to take the cotton clothes out of the trunk to wash and iron.  There’s the air, and then there are the birds -- birds certainly figure large in spring.  There are hundreds of species of birds in Turkey –  wrens, robins, starlings, swallows, cormorants, storks, sparrow hawks, falcons,  kestrels, and best of all, the turtle doves (kumru – the name sounds a bit like their song).  These mornings the birds start singing even before the first call to prayer.  A short while ago I was in the garden having pulled out the green plants that grow in the cracks of the stone walls and turned over the earth in the beds.  Everything is ready for the new toprak boyasż and the plants.  I was sitting there drinking a glass of red wine, just enjoying the peace of it all.  The sky was dark because it was about to rain but everything was very quiet. Then, a bird I didn’t recognize pierced the stillness with a deep, melodic warbling.  It was as if it pierced the fragments of wintry sadness in me, opened them up, and said “Spring is here!”  These days are full now of epiphanies like that one, and they’re especially welcome in the midst of this horrible economic turmoil we have been thrown into.  Today, for example, I rode down the wide, tree-lined avenue that leads from Bežiktaž to Ortaköy.  Have you ever really looked at those trees, or at the gardens above the walls along one side of this street?  Have you ever really looked at the massive gates to the palace?  Never mind it’s a five star hotel now – whenever I look I still see a palace.  Those gates are incredible   I can imagine them opening and wonderful processions passing through them. 

The image of massive gates swinging open to allow passage evokes the function of spring.  Spring opens up the darkness of the year (or, on another level, of an existential condition, whether individual or collective – my sad yearnings, our country’s current woes, doesn’t matter)) to allow longer, light-filled days, new growth, possibility, and hope.  Ah yes, that’s what spring means/does.  Spring creates hope.  It is precisely this process that has been repeated for the time of the age of this earth and it is precisely this process that will continue to occur for the remainder of the life of this earth.  This process is all about song, music, dance, love, giving . . .

What must one do in a spring like this one? 
Reste une seule solution possible :
ouvrir les mains
comme si elles étaient des feuilles.  
One possible solution remains:
to open the hands
as if they were foliage.

from Roberto Juarroz, Onzieme Poésie Verticale 

Someone who knows very well what April means to me sent a message wishing me “flowers, light, and hope” for this April.  Certainly things could be worse, no?  Even if it’s true that depression and melancholy can have initiatory effects, as psychologist Carl Jung claimed, surely there’s no place for such things in a spring like this.  Now is the time to make everything new -- in an individual life, or a national life, doesn’t matter.   I’ll quote from Orhan Veli another time.  Here, Rumi is perfect:  

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the threshold
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don't go back to sleep.

Now is the time to plant the garden, clean the rugs, air out the bedding, wash and iron everything you can get your hands on, and in at least one case I know, finish sanding those doors and painting them verdant green.   Now is also the time to open your heart, and your soul – open them up to the soft, sweet breezes of what can be.  

New is important.  Joy is important.  Possibility is important.  Hope is important.  Oh, yes.

No.1- April 2000 No.11 April 2001 No. 20 July 2002 No 29 April 2003
No.2 June 2000 No.12 May 2001 No. 22 September 2002 NO 30 MAY 2003
No.3 July/August 2000 No. 13 June 2001 No. 23   October 2002  NO 31 JUNE 2003
No.5 October 2000 No.14 July 2001 No 24 November 2002 NO 32 JULY 2003
No.7 December 2000 No.15 August 2001 No 25 DECEMBER  2002 NO 33 August 
No.8 January 2001
(No. 8 Ocak 2001 - Türkēe tercume
NO 16 September 2001 No 26 January 2003 No 34 September 
No.9 February 2001 No. 17 April 2002 No 27 February 2003 No 35 October 
No.10 March 2001 NO 19 JUNE 2002 No 28 March 2003 No 36 January 2004

No 37 February - March 2004 No 38 April 2004

 

Home

Contact Us

Hotels

Tours

Shops

Restaurants

Istanbul Life.Org : Ishak Pasa Caddesi No: 6 Floor : 2 Sultanahmet / ISTANBUL - TURKEY
Tel :
+ 90 (212) 458 13 19   Fax : + 90 (212)  458 13 19  - 458 13 18  E-mail :  [email protected]

Istanbullife.ORG Suggested Links ;
Hotels in Istanbul,Turkey  : Charming hotels, 5 star hotels in Istanbul , 4 star hotels , 3 star hotels, 2 star hotels in Istambul Guest Houses in Estambul ,Hotels in Princess Island,Apartement ,Hotels in Adana,Ankara,Antalya,Kusadasi,Bodrum,Bursa , Cappadocia ,Pamukkale,Fethiye,Marmaris,Izmir
Tours in Istanbul ,Turkey : Package Tour in Istanbul , Bosphorus Tour in Estambul , Whirling Dervish Ceremony,Aegean 6 days tour , Cappadocia Tour , Daily Cappadoca Tour , Sivas Kangal Doctor Fish,
Rent A Car in Turkey : Rent A Car in Fethiye,Marmaris,Izmir,Adana,Bodrum,Kusadasi,Istanbul,Konya,Alanya,Side,Antalya,Bursa
Rent A Flat /Aparts  in Istanbul : Rent A Flat in Besiktas ,Sultanahmet,Yesilkoy,Taksim, etc...
Turkish and Ottoman Art Center :Online Shopping Center,Les Arts Turcs ,Art Gallery,Music in Turkey,Turkish Tiles,Home Decor