My apologies for being off line for a while. A few days into my trip to Turkey, the Turkish government decided to block all access to wordpress.com. Apparently someone said something on a blog they didn’t like (I don’t think it was me).
So we have some catching up to do:
It’s my prerogative as a traveler/tourist to allow myself to get lost.
Sometimes it yields adventures and experiences I would never have dreamed of. Sometimes it means a longer walk.
But it rarely gets me into too much trouble. And the surprises seldom disappoint.
So when I started walking down from an overlook, staring down into a canyon and trying to see where the unmarked path came up again out the other side of the valley of red-tinted hoodoos some call fairy chimneys, I felt confident I could find my way out and back to my pension in no more than a couple of hours. After all, the sign said 5600 meters. How long could that take?
I began the hike after lunch, walking in mid-day sun down the side of the road toward Çavusin from the town of Göreme. According to the map I bought at the tourism office, which turned out to be more of a general sketch than a precise guide to the area, I knew that there was a former monastery dug into a cluster of stone chimneys to the right of the road about a mile or two down. I found the area, and wandered among its various rooms, carved into the dozen or more vertical formations. There were large spaces where monks must have lived, kitchen areas, and nooks hidden behind the rocks that led up to the rooms with windows I saw some thirty feet above from the front of the rock. It was a magical adventure among the various nooks and crannies of the formerly holy place.
And then I found a chapel, where I found respite from the daytime heat, in a quiet little room.
It was a modest little chapel, with tombs just inside the door (my how we’ve grown as a species…. the holes were no longer than five feet and narrow as an Olsen twin). But the amazing thing about it was I had it all to myself. I sat for long minutes just enjoying the quiet and the coolness of its cave atmosphere. And then I coughed. And I noticed how it echoed and resonated in the stone chamber. I then held a long note, the length of one breath. It rang with overtones and hung in the room for several seconds after the breath gave out.
I don’t know any Byzantine tunes, so I sang what I knew of Gregorian chants and then lyrics in Latin from things like requiem masses.
And then I sang Leonard Cohen.
They say there was a secret chord, which David played and it pleased the Lord. But you don’t really care for music do ya?
The much covered (by Bono, John Cale, Jeff Buckley, Bob Dylan and k.d. lang, just to name a few) Hallelujah.
It goes like this: the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall and the major lift. The baffled king composing Hallelujah. Read the rest of this entry »