Fall in Istanbul

I have never been very impressed by fall. In fact, I have been known to be downright hateful towards any season that was not summer. However, leaving the safe haven of my eternal summer deep in the southwest I have come to experience, timidly at first and then with a bit of curious anticipation, other seasons.

For me fall has always been a time of ending. It reeks of decay and death. The leaves turn brown, the sap in trees runs slowly, and it tells the coming of winter. Winter, which could be appreciated for what it is if we didn’t try to control it… if winter consisted of blankets and hibernation  books and knitting and hot chocolate and mindless movies, then it wouldn’t be so bad. But winter consists of bad drivers, waiting in the cold for public transportation, heaters on too fully in public buildings, and sickly lighting schemes. It is not something to look forward to in the way most modern humans experience it, or try not to. Winter is an awful dissonance between realities (the desired and the experienced) and a time of humans waging war against the eminent will of nature, and fall is just the ramping up to that disgusting display. Or so I thought.

Here, in Istanbul, fall has a completely different feel than what I have experienced before. It is mid-October now and the weather changes daily- some days a bit windy, some days warm and mild, occasionally chilled and rainy. Every day is a surprise. I enjoy the juxtaposition of short sleeves and scarves, or long sleeves and bare necks. I love the gentle breeze that, somedays, comes up off the bosphorous, kissing along the neck of my university campus. It is a breeze without temperature, neither cooling nor warming, it just lifts the small hairs on your arms or neck and then places them down again, ever so gently, without any effort or crude moments of shock. Everything seems peaceful. People are settling into their routines, they have unwound from summer vacation, and they are drinking coffee and talking in low voices with small, satisfied smiles.

I never knew that a month could be like this. Or else I forgot. What I do know is that right now, in this time and this year, I am exactly where I need to be. The place of Bogazici opens up to me and folds over me, and I feel safe, and tickled with tiny promises of experience. Fall or not, October in Istanbul is perfect. 

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