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x0x Heading for Ayvalik

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    x0x Heading for Ayvalik By Muge Iplikci Asude, of whom I will be speaking here, went to Ayvalik dozens of times. Among the things which made her angry were
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 3, 2004
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      x0x Heading for Ayvalik

      By Muge Iplikci

      Asude, of whom I will be speaking here, went to Ayvalik dozens of
      times. Among the things which made her angry were forest fires, fear
      of growing old, ugly buildings, nuclear power stations and Piri Reis,
      the sixteenth century Turkish navigator and cartographer. Do not ask
      how I met her. Everyone has an Asude concealed somewhere; endearing,
      eccentric and with odd fixations. And I don't know about yours, but
      every time my Asude went to Ayvalik she came back with new impressions
      and dreams that drew her to return there once again. She ran a
      furriesi shop, but only marked time there, thinking of her return to
      Ayvalik the next summer. In her small business diary she noted with a
      felt tip pen: 'Will go to Ayvalik. Greet next summer there.' Her
      dreams centred around the local markets with their displays of broad
      beans, chicory, black-eyed peas, and artichokes, and the scented
      breezes blowing sometimes from the sea and sometimes from Mount Kaz,
      which Asude thought of by its ancient name of Ida, as does Yasar Kemal
      and everyone who believes in magic.

      In short she was always returning, but to a different Ayvalik every
      time, awaiting to be discovered once again. Nothing is the same when
      repeated, as those who have tried it will know. Each return reveals a
      different and new aspect, so long as a single fixed point exists. For
      Asude that fixed point, even if it shifted slightly, was love, and
      this love, nurtured by living it, was never unrequited, and may it
      never be so in future. The requited love between Ayvalik and Asude
      enjoyed ever greater liberty with each repetition. I must explain.

      Ayvalik is a town on the Aegean coast. To the west lies the sea, to
      the north the town of Burhaniye, to the east Bergama and to the south
      the cheerful Dikili. Wherever Asude went she carried in her heart the
      smiling face of Ayvalik, arising out of the past and looking towards
      the future. Now let us leave the map aside for a more sentimental
      version of this sense of direction.

      Here goes again: the Bezirgan River, Gomec and the road to Gumuslu to
      the north, the Sazanlik River, the Demirhan gorges, and of course
      Hisar to the east, the vast golden plain of Altinova to the south, and
      the Kaplan Mountains to the southwest, which together with the
      Sarimsak Peninsular means a whole series of villages. So in whatever
      direction Asude might go she remains within the boundless
      gravitational field of Ayvalik. Another direction naturally
      encompasses the island of Cunda, especially towards evening. In
      Ayvalik all roads and all holiday evenings eventually lead to Cunda;
      to sunsets, a raki bottle and gilt-head bream, and vegetables glowing
      in a bed of olive oil. The sun sinks towards the horizon, leaving its
      evocative reflection on the facade of an old Greek church. Then it
      strikes the mirrors in a coffee house and is gone in a lick of fire.

      The past seems ready to awaken at a touch. I think it was by a mill on
      Cunda that Asude dreamed of an old photograph in which she smiled at
      Sancho Panza, one of her many travelling companions.

      'You will not fight the windmills, but that does not mean that you
      will never under any circumstances be Don Quixote!' she declared as
      she looked at the photograph that captured the young smiling face of
      herself, a mere dream out of the past. Her face is growing faded on
      Cunda Island in Ayvalik. How quickly youth has passed, but growing old
      is beautiful too. That is why Asude thinks only of Ayvalik, where time
      has long since stopped. As glasses rise and fall on the table, Don
      Quixote's bayonet and mask fall, and with the breezes of evening
      strains of music are heard from somewhere nearby: 'Old friends
      forgotten one by one, old friends...' Then confusion sets in. The
      rhythm becomes carried away and escapes. The oleanders and olive trees
      on the road from BalIkesir to Ayvalik, the pine woods along the shore,
      the hills surrounding the town - amongst them that devilish hilltop
      where the footprint of Satan together with that of Asude look down
      upon Camlik Bay - days and summers past, youth and middle age mingle

      All the memories that had gathered moss come alive again, along with
      those that are still sparkling fresh.

      She will return to Ayvalik, the only place where she will be again,
      like a compass pointing always to the same point. Asude returns to the
      pension to gather up her bundles languidly and dejectedly. She is
      annoyed again with Piri Reis and his Book of Navigation: 'How could
      you do not mention Ayvalik?'

      Probably Piri Reis was unable to enter the harbour here because it is
      so shallow, just knee deep, and so could not record Ayvalik for
      posterity. So if you happen to visit Ayvalik and meet Asude, would you
      tell her?

      * Muge Iplikci is a short story writer.
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