On a cliff above the Black Sea
July 15, 2012
The call to prayer woke me before dawn in a small whitewashed Turkish town on a cliff above the Black Sea. It was still night-dark outside, the faintest pale light of morning washing the sky to the east. Over the amplified song of the mosque I heard the sound of falling water and stepped outside, anxious of rain, thinking of the next day’s walk and my broken boots. The water was only a fountain, somewhere. But the sound brought back memories of all the times I’d walked through rain, and with this came unexpected sadness, a sudden awareness of how close I am and of all that has gone. Sadness for the rain in Transylvania, for Romania’s green hills, for the plains of Hungary and the rivers I followed there, for Slovakia so quickly gone, for the snow of the Wachau valley, for the Danube, the rain on the Rhine, for the starting out. The fear of not completing my journey, of not getting to Istanbul, has been a bar against this sadness, and I realise now that when I arrive there this fear will be no more, and the sadness, perhaps, will be left.