Of orchid roots and chilly fingertips by the Bosphorus


It is late at night and the night owl spirit, egged on by Hacıyatmaz  (“hah-juh-yacht-mahz”), the incessant institagor of personal writing, is at it again.  He is rocking and rolling, back and forth, keeping me up way past my bedtime.  Duty finally calls, and I take our dog out for his late night ablutions.

I feel the cold inside my lungs before I exit the foyer.  Inky black-seeming night sky swatches between naked tree branches greet me.  I note that they are dotted with demure diamond stars that shape-shift from place to place as I move along.  I am in some suspended reality where the idea of stars moving in my line of sight would make sense.  The moon is a shivery sliver of white melon fading away on a cool slate plate.

Making a quick move to the left, my dog commences the sniff-a-thon that must occur before peeing.  Ensconsed in my pink and orange pajamas, purple suede sheepskin slippers, a teal pashmina scarf around my head and a light aqua LL Bean parka, I have remembered to cover all of my exposables but my fingertips – the fingers are encased in vibrant orange wool fingerless gloves re-gifted to me by M. as I always seem to lose my gloves.  My dog decides it is time for only a quick pee and pulls me back home into the warmth.  I contemplate heating some milk to just below boiling and sprinkling some cardamom on top to help me sleep (I am a nightowl)…but the warmth of the bed with long-sleeping M. at my side and our dog at my feet beckons and I am quickly out of the parka and between the sheets, scarf and all (we sleep by a chilly window).

Before long I awake to a swirly world, as if looking through streaked crystal glass that deforms the shapes around me. I can hear Kenne, the Queen of Manners and Ladylike Behavior ordering people around the kitchen in a very polite way.  Levitating out of the bed, the lima bean green down comforter wraps itself around me like a chrysalis for a sitting up lady invalid and deposits me on the chaise lounge by my window overlooking the Bosphorus Strait.

“Um,” I said softly to nobody in particular, furrowing my brow, “I didn’t know I had a chaise lounge – or a house that looked over the Bosphorus Strait?”

Karagoz just sighed.  There he was, lolling about in the seams of the lima bean green comforter…as mellow and happy as a silkworm during mulberry leaf season, which is right about now.  “Now I know this must be a dream, if Karagoz is up to lolling about instead of whooping, hollering and twirling.

“Yes, m’lady, it’s a dream indeed, but just enjoy it.  Here you go – you wished for cardamom milk to ease your sleep – but we had to go into puppet dreamworld to show you something different – try this sahlep.”

The Maiden's Tower, also known in the ancient ...

Image via Wikipedia

M. brought some sahlep back from his most recent trip to Istanbul, but he says it isn’t that great. I think it is fabulous. For more on sahlep, made from the roots of orchids, click here, but basically it is flour made from grinding the dried tubers of the flower…before long, I swooned in sleep…only to wake with M. offering me a steamy mug of sahlep in the early morning light.  “I have to show you this photo of a house overlooking the Bosphorus strait,” M. says…and everything falls into place.

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This entry was posted in Karagöz puppets in dreamland, Turkish Food!, Visits from the Karagöz puppets and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Of orchid roots and chilly fingertips by the Bosphorus

  1. Alan says:

    . . nice, atmospheric, dreamy post (yaaawwwwn!)

  2. Jack Scott says:

    We’re nightowls too. 4am some days (yikes).

  3. Liz Cameron says:

    Felt fitting to post it in the midst of our deep freeze! Has snowmaggedon made it down your way?

  4. Liz Cameron says:

    Ah – birds of a feather! If only my M. was also. He is a morning bird instead :) Another aspect of cross-cultural relationship.

  5. Madhu says:

    Neat post! Love your narrative style!

  6. Madhu – thank you so much for the complement – I am loving the return to creativity after years of academic writing slogging ;)

  7. Pingback: Turkey for Thanksgiving – or – Dinner with Donkeys in Dipkarpaz | Slowly-by-Slowly

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