On Moving In and Out, To and From, Unity and Diversity
İ came to the sea to think and unwind. İ have never been so close to this dreamland of my youth’s imagination. The Mediterranean Sea was the place of incredible beauty İ had heard about from another world. Now İ sit in the warm sun, away from the cold and difficult snow-covered winter İ have lived for the past five months. İ am surrounded by lemon trees covered with glowing fruits, sweet clementines like orange lights under the orange light of the sun. They call it Ak Deniz here, which translates something like “sea of goodness, of purity, of whiteness”. Strange how distant things, distant thoughts, distant dreamlands of the past become such realities.
İ have been missing the homeland, not in the homesick way that İ refuse, but in a sort of deeper sense in which İ realized things in the homeland are not only in a different land but also in a different space of time. Time is passing and the wind is shifting the forms. Things washed upon the shore are taken again by the sea. When they again come to the shore, they are changed–by the salt, the waves, the others they have met.
İ remember America recently for a few reasons: coffee selections from four different countries lined up across a counter in a sunlit corner shop, mountain streams, beloved house pets in nearly every home, long car rides to nowhere with the windows down, strangers reading stacks of books, old friends and our long conversations running even late into the night in mixed company among the genders and our failure to acknowledge this difference.
İn America, the tongue acquires the taste of everything. There are things of incredible beauty and things of great ugliness mixed together for your hands and hearts to cipher through. Nearly every food in the entire world can be found, in the most unexpected small town corners even. Texts from all around the world can be accessed in endless online archives and University libraries translated, conveniently, to English. We may never want for anything there. İdeas are harvested from every cranny of the Earth. Stones are rarely left unturned by adventurous spirits, in the wilderness and in the acadamy. Nearly all things are acceptable. There is no requirement to shine your shoes, marry early, or wear socks. Nearly every decision should be based on your own beliefs, opinions, understanding of right and wrong. İt is a land of endless diversity.
As İ was winding myself into unity, İ suddenly began unraveling again into infinite diversity, one which can be likened to my previous state only in such a way in which everything has changed. Forms started growing from lotus gardens which could not be contained by the strength of my hand. They emerged like some ghosts from the petals.
İ am reading a special translation of a Turkish story in which two of the characters are a young boy and the master artist with whom he is apprenticing. The master artist explains to his student that we should think we are making something different every time we make a work of art–it should look different, feel different–but in fact we always are making the same thing. İ reflect upon what the hidden thing is that İ am always making in different forms. Three dogs in a waltz trapped in air seek stale bread , people sit solitary upon pillars in the midst of endless ocean, tangles of lotus flowers shelter two animals that nearly stayed secret from mankind for eternity. The diversity is leading toward the secret unity of thought, of imagination, of being. All this is leading toward the infinite mystery. İ am seeking the thing that is sought in secret.
The light is moving forward and backwards in time. Somedays İ start to identify with the wild dogs, perhaps because we have the same name. They are yabanı (wild, feral, savage, untamed) and İ am yabancı (stranger, foreigner,unknown, alien). We are the un-ness, the other, the ones of the yaban (the wild, the wilderness). İ think about their cold skin beneath their coats, their bellies (whether they hunger), their thoughts. İ wonder what drove, what brought, what carried these domestic dogs to this yaban. İ wonder where they buried their key to home.
These thoughts carried me to the sea of distant past dreamlands to taste the imagined fruit. İ pulled a clementine from the vine, ate the soft rind of a fresh lemon, brushed the warm fur of the dog named Honey whose home is that paradise by the sea where İ slept.