Stopped smoking about two years ago and became a big boy, comparing before and after. Now it is everyday walking, one and a half hour to the office and back home. Expected to lose a lot of weight along the way, but looking in the mirror, it seems like an illusion, with worn-off shoes as the only proof of this work-out.
Despite the revolution, supermarkets are still full, everything more expensive than you really need, and thus basically it is again La Marsa Souk; the open air market on a cool late December Sunday morning in this north eastern Tunisian sea-side town. My wife and her brother go for the fruit and vegetables and then we look for what else, going home with a white porcelain teapot, a five liter printed glass bottle and a lentil formed curious looking stone that I think wants to be cut in half to show it is a septarian concretion.
On my way home for Christmas with family, before I could write down the new address of my oldest friend, the battery of my laptop went dead and I just saw fish. Not the ‘oude visch markt’ told the strange guy opening the door in the wrong street, possibly the ‘vis straat’ just around the corner in the medieval center of the little town of Zaltbommel, where indeed his son welcomed me at the door.
With the sound of their roaring skeletons still in my ears, I left with some nice eternal crystals in my pocket.
During the half year that I have been living in Ankara, I had 3 rainy days and now an Indian summer. At home we call it old wives’ summer and here they say ‘Pastırma Yazı’, like the highly spiced air-dried cured beef of Anatolian origin. This is perfect weather for late summer peppers and a colorful walk in calm and quiet Ankara’s upper middle-class neighborhood; where my office is just around the corner at the end of the road. Apart from the guy that washes his cars 3-times a day, I only meet gardeners on my rounds to keep that body from rooting in my office chair. Their head-scarfed women of the land are cleaning inside and those Indians must be gathering wood for the harsh winter that is approaching with the evening air.
While walking uphill to the Ankara office under October’s Aesculus hippocastanum, I notice that as the trees become smaller, the fallen nuts loose their spines, and I start thinking of the thorny truth. When we become many escaping natural selection, then civilization is degeneration since ‘In wildness is the preservation of the world’ (H.D. Thoreau). So is rough natural man not more honest, naive and prone to telling the truth, even if it hurts? Then is civilized man not too smooth, always hiding intentions, deceiving while cloaked in lie, just to avoid friction? Or am I a hopeless romantic and is nature still our master and we’re its servants, deceiving us and others out of need just like the natural squirrel while hiding nuts in view of its fellows.
At the present day village of Sart, in the Turkish province of Izmir (Smyrna), are found the ruins of the temple of Artemis Of Sardis. Artemis is the Greek goddess of the wild animals, the twin-sister of Apollo, who is the god of the domesticated herds, siblings of Zeus and Leto. This holy place was part of the former capital of the Iron Age kingdom of Lydia, which last ruler was the proverbially rich Croesus, defeated by Cyrus the Great from Persia around 2500 years ago, after the Delphi oracle had ambiguously foretold that if he attacked the Persians, a great empire would be destroyed. Continue reading