Tree Hugger

Yesterday, while walking down the side of a hill, kicking up dust with my flip flops, I mentioned to the guy walking next to me that it was a nearly perfect day. He challenged me, as he takes glee in doing, and asked me why nearly? Why not perfect? I relented and gave perfect. Why not perfect indeed?

Around 9 I took my bike from my apartment to the ferry station in Kabatas. It was a nice, invigorating ride and I arrived at the meeting point early enough to sit under a tree and write in my journal. Around 10:20 the guy I was meeting showed up. We had a morning tea and got on the boat, waiting nervously for the couple who was supposed to join us. Eventually they came, and they were just beautiful. So, we had four very laid back, joyful people about to embark on a trip to the Istanbul Princes Islands.

On the first Island they rented bicycles and we went around the island to a beach. There we got into the icy water, had a seaweed fight, and eventually picnicked in the sun. We then hopped the next ferry to the next biggest island where we hiked up to the top of a hill to sit in a grove of trees. This island, Burgaz, is not particularly forested. The hike up to the top of it was steep, and a few kilometers, and it felt very much like the dusty california scrub-brush regions. By then the sun, which had been playing games with us all day, was baking steadily, and the wind had picked up into such strong gusts that we occasionally had to stop and stand still in the face of it. When we reached the top I expected to see a breathtaking view of distant Istanbul. However, what waited for us was a beautiful grove of trees, dipped down into a saddle in the hill that took us away from the city, and into a planet all our own. Except for the horses. There were maybe ten horses grazing in the center of the trees, one of which was a flaxen chestnut foal and was completely, heartbreakingly precious. I guess the little girl in me that loved horses is still in there somewhere, because seeing them completely melted my heart. We found a little nook in the trees, where the wind was a little less, and sat for our second picnic, followed by napping and being lazy. At one point I left our group behind and found an open spot in the trees. I closed my eyes and let the wind wash over me, and it was such a calming experience, to just be quiet and small, surrendering to sun and wind. Eventually we made our way down the hill and back to the ferry station, where we caught a ferry back to the city, stretching out endlessly, like it always does. The waves were much larger than they had been in the morning, and the ferry was rocking back and forth, occasionally breaching waves like a speedboat would. I was nervous and yet excited by the motion, and it acted as a final bonding experience for our little group, who parted ways to a fast-falling twilight.

A perfect day? Why not. 

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