Eastern Roads // Turkey
Going far from home. Taking the road to the East in a non-linear direction. I feel the smoke smell, barks of dogs and whispers of old trees. It is like I’m moving on a trail passing through not only the climate and geographical changes but also several emotions as well. This part of our land is such as a forgotten page of Turkey, telling whimsical stories taken from the ancient travel books written on the silk road. As I step into this world, I feel nothing is familiar, comparing what I have in city life, but this feeling begets my curiosity more.
By the time I encounter a picturesque view I’m utterly charmed by the carved dovecotes made of a special stone at the edge of houses. Later the pigeons fly off from their homes and showing off in the air. I start to see what can only be described as a place come to life in a novel by Orhan Pamuk. Grey, foggy, and full of mystery. But this time, it’s not visionary, it’s thoroughly all real.
As I head to another village marked by ancient roads, churches, mosques, empty streets, and a big clock tower in the midst of all, I can tell how ‘the color of sky’ determines the fate. I get sure of what Ibn Khaldun said; “geography is destiny.”
Waiting for a snowstorm, I stop the car for a break. The only sound I can hear is of the wind and the sound of a few passing cars. Abruptly, I see a herd on the road with a shepherd singing a dramatic Türkü (folk song) feeling melancholic. The shepherd strikes me as a powerful, solid being, and yet who seems not to be caring about the cold and storm. As if he’s been here for a hundred years.
The rural east remains a world where I can truly feel the blues and winter. It boggles the mind in a way that ruins all the lessons learned by heart in the west.