Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hiking in the Ihlara Vadesi Valley

Ihlara Vadesi Valley
The river speaks here...
We hiked this valley
first descending three hundred fifty-five stairs
then planting feet
on uneven soil.
This is no place for Birkenstocks
but this journey
was a surprise,
a gift kept secret for this day.
And so my feet adjust
and I find my footings,
generous, friendly hands helping me
over lopsided terrain.
The river speaks here...
as we lift ourselves up
into church caves,
miniature cathedrals in the rock.
Altars of carved stone,
Jesus lounging in an oriental seated position,
grafitti scrawled between the sacred words.
Many figures have lost their sight,
eyes vanished from these frescos.
I whisper sing
hardly any breath to make the music
where charity and love prevail
and I hear ancient voices
in harmony.
The overtones in this cavern sanctuary
reach back in time,
in words foreign to my western ears.
The river speaks here...
It has been a very wet spring
in Cappadocia
they tell us
and the poppies
even in July
still gather in hillside bouquets
with dwarfed queen anne's lace
and clusters of daisies.
The river speaks here...
We pause for chai and apple tea
at a cafe
along this valley floor.
Some of us remove our shoes,
ravel up our trouser legs,
through the stream.
Others sip tea
blending one cube of sugar
with the tinkling of a petite silver spoon.
Others fill palms with river water,
anointing head
with the coolness
of this place.
And others find a log in the sun,
lean back,
bare throats to the sky
and just listen to the water
speak gently
so very gently
to us
as we close our eyes
in the mid-afternoon sun...
-Marianne, July 2009

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