Retire Mechanical engineer. Student at California State university Channel Island studiyingAbout Me

July 25, 2015

Visit to My Village - Part Two

I felt exhilarated as I approached the outskirts of Siran. Stopping the car at a convenient place, I observed the two mountains to the north of my village.

It had been forty-nine years since I left and I had forgotten how they look from this vantage point. Beyond these mountains, there is another ridge of higher peaks where the snow never melts.

In this part of Turkey, snow falls from mid-August until April.

The higher elevations are mostly tall spruce and pine trees, and then the tree line where nothing grows except sparse grass among the ancient rocks.  On the lower levels are more like oak trees, aspen, and wild plum trees, as I remembered from my childhood.

Just beyond the village, before the slopes of the mountains, the entire northeast and northwest are divided out by village clans to harvest grass for the animals. I remembered when my grandfather used to harvest the grass and Kasur plant from the section belonging to the Kaya clan.

One day I attempted to climb the zenith of the two mountains. As I climbed further away from my grandfather and all the other family members, I started to fear I might come face to face with a grizzly bear, so I abolished the idea of climbing by myself.

At that moment, I knew, that on this trip, I would climb to the top of the two summits.

I looked down at my watch and noticed that a half-hour had passed since I stopped the car.

I had been time-traveling, reminiscing about my youth. I took some pictures, taking in how majestic and how steep the slopes were from this angel.

As I approached Siran, I quickly realized how much everything had changed and decided not to stop. As I neared my village, I could hear the throbbing of my heart.

It seemed to be a different route, but I remembered some of the land that is ours, and how different everything is; so green and overgrown with tall grass. The banks of the stream that comes down from the village all the way to Siran, are now covered with tall willow trees on each side. In some places the trees are so thick they form a dark forest.

The crystal clear water flowed downward, and as I crossed over the stream, I could see the colorful green, violet, grey and red rocks spread beneath the surface. I wanted to stop and observe, but at the same time I was excited to reach the village.

As I drove through the narrow streets, I almost forgot to take the road towards our house. I did not recognize any of the houses. Instead of two-story stone, log, and mud structures, there are now high-rises, one house better looking than the next, as if the owners are competing with one another.

There were all different shapes and colors, not one house looks the same as another. Some houses show their richness with green marble exteriors, others are covered in mosaics, some with stones of a yellowish color, still others covered in red brick.

As I approached several village women, I stopped the car, rolled down my window and asked one of the women where the house of Fatma Kaya was. All three women spoke at the same time.

"Stop! Please! One at a time."

"Two houses behind you," said one of the women excitedly and pointed toward Mother's house.

"Okay." I was about to put the car in reverse and back up.

"Are you a relative of Mrs. Kaya?" she asked.

"Mrs. Kaya is my mother.

I opened the car door and started to get out to talk to the women. Before I knew it, the woman who had asked who I was hugged me tight.

"Do you know who I am?" she exclaimed.

"No! I am sorry."

"Oh! Try to guess."

"I am sorry."

"I am your sister-in-law, Saniye, Nevzat's spouse."

She demanded that I try to recognize the other two women, but it was no use. None of them looked familiar. I watched as one of the women rushed towards my mother's house; I am sure to inform her of my arrival.

I got back in the car, backed up and parked in an empty lot next to our house. By the time I turned off the engine, a group of village people were gathering in a crowd around me. Thankfully, Mother arrived, hugged me and took me inside. But once there, my head began to swirl as I saw the house full of people.

How I survived that first night and next day I still am not sure.

On my second morning, I was still trying to catch up with my jet-lag, sleeping as long as I felt I required. I woke to hear music, sounds coming from far away.

As the sounds came closer, I heard mixed sounds of different tunes, as if it was the beginning of an orchestra rehearsal, with the violinists tuning their instruments. It was a bass sound, or baritone, like ding, dang, daangg, din, chin, all mixed together.

I turned and tried to reposition myself, but the urgency to pee was strong.

The same mixed sounds kept getting louder and then I heard mooing and more mooing. I opened my eyes and my curiosity got the better of me.

Before the bathroom, I rushed to the balcony, and saw herds of cows and sheep passing through the narrow road in front of our house.

All the while more sheep and cows were joining the already packed crowd.

I forgot my bathroom urgency, rushed to find my camera, and caught the rear end of the cows.

When I went down to breakfast, Mother explained that the village still had cows and sheep. The cows were brought from Holland and the large animals each had a different sounding bell around their necks. The village hired cowboys to attend them; each day they changed their direction according to their liking.

Today the cowboys decided to graze the animals on our side of the village.

When Mother asked me what I wanted for breakfast, I immediately answered, "Do you have some more of that soup?" She had made a delicious lentil soup for my arrival.

"Yes! But you have been eating that soup I made since you arrived. Let me cook you some eggs and there is goat cheese."

"Yes to the goat cheese, but I also want the remainder of the soup."

She smiled, shook her head, and proceeded to fix my breakfast. 

Part Three