Showing posts with label seasons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label seasons. Show all posts

Friday, April 12, 2013

It's Tulip Time at Istanbul's Emirgan Park!

 A spectacular sunny day -
one of the first of Spring.
I was with Barb,
a new friend from America,
working here in Istanbul.

We were excited to explore Emirgan Park
for the first time.
A river of grape hyacinth
Such an imaginative planting!
 It was a perfect day,
and a perfect way,
to enjoy a conversation.
How relaxing
to just contemplate
which planting and flowers
were the prettiest -
it was so hard to choose.

 What do you like best?
Ribbons of color? All one color?
All colors mixed together?

 A traditional Turkish lady
with the Turkish flag
created in red tulips.
The crescent and the star
are the symbols of Turkey.
 A tree with idiosyncrasies.
It was so fun to have Barb
as a conversation partner.
She's done all kinds of interesting stuff
from owning and operating her own bakery
in Fairbanks, Alaska,
to working as a corporate labor lawyer
in Johannesburg and Istanbul.
She is helping an American corporation
integrate a Turkish factory into their portfolio.
I've often thought this tulip
with leaves that seem to form a crown
should be the official tulip of
the Istanbul Tulip Festival.
It's shape is most like the tulip
on all of the Iznik Tile.
What fun!
The "Nazar,"
or Turkish Evil Eye,
said to ward off evil thought.

A tulip made out of
soon-to-bloom tulips.

 Istanbul is famous for its youthful energy,
but it has its contemplative spots too.
You just have to seek them out.
I'm grateful to have shared a beautiful
morning with a new friend.
Do you have a favorite spring flower
you look forward to every year?
If you enjoyed this springtime walk,
 you may enjoy a couple other springtime walks in Prague:
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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sam's Salad with Cherries, Goat Cheese, and Pistachios

Cherry Season in Istanbul!
I can't get enough of them.
Turkey has such a vibrant and local agricultural industry. Seems like everyone is a locavore here. I can't think of anything that might be flown in other than bananas and processed food. In the springtime, I felt such overwhelming anticipation for the peach and cherry season - the season couldn't start fast enough for me - I was like a kid waiting for Christmas.

Now cherry season is winding down, but just in case there are cherries available where you live, I wanted to share the recipe for this salad. The recipe comes from the beautiful food blog of one of my readers.

Here's my shout out to Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen for her salad of cherries, goat cheese, and pistachios. All three of these ingredients are magnificently produced near Istanbul. As soon as I saw it, I knew I should make it to celebrate the fabulous bounty of Turkish farmers. Go to Sam's blog for the recipe. It was delicious!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The book that made me crazy with homesickness for America

Aldo Leopold
I have a young teenage friend here in Istanbul who pines to be out in the Turkish countryside among apple orchards, tending herbs, growing living plants and enjoying nature. Instead, he's growing up in a city of 15 million! That has to make his summers out in the country just that much more special.

I tried to think of English-language books that I could share with him that spoke to this inner calling of nature. "Walden" of course, by Thoreau. "The other side of the mountain" by Jean Craighead George, one of my own childhood favorites. To this day I still remember how much I savored reading her young adult novel about trying to live off the land by oneself as a teenager in the woods. Instead, I gave him a book, even though I hadn't read it myself. I had, however, heard mentioned over and over again as one of the best in the American canon for nature writing: "Sand County Almanac" by Aldo Leopold.

"Sand County Almanac"
 has sold over 2,000,000 copies
"Sand County Almanac" proved too difficult for his intermediate English. So he gave it back to me.
Having always meant to read it because of its steady, growing reputation, I opened it up and began.

"Sand County Almanac" is divided into a year of observations about living on a Wisconsin farm and the natural life that goes on there through the seasons. Aldo Leopold, the Iowa-born author, was a professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Wisconsin when he wrote it. He would retire to his "tired-out" farmland and shack on the weekend with his wife and five kids. Before his professorship, he was very active in the United States Forest Service writing the first fish and game handbook ever and proposing the first National Wilderness Designation ever for Gila Wilderness Area.

Thank goodness, I was going home to America within the month! The beauty of the Wisconsin farm landscape came pouring of every page of this book. So did his pride and passion for observation of his piece of land, something every property owner has felt. Having last lived in central Wisconsin when I was in America, I could hardly bear reading it so evocative was it for all that was gorgeous about nature in the Midwest, and Wisconsin in particular.

Aldo Leopold is considered
the father of wildlife ecology

No wonder my young friend had such difficulty with the English. Aldo Leopold's language is so learned and his thinking so lofty, I began to regard what was in my hands as "divinely-inspired" like Mozart's works or Handel's "Messiah." Could a human being create such a work of such sacredness, joy, and wisdom without help from a higher power?

If I could have every American read one chapter, it would be "February." There is no action in this chapter other than Aldo sawing apart a tree for his wood-burning stove. Doesn't exactly sound like a must-read, does it? And yet, each sentence is utterly compelling.

Aldo describes not knowing where our heat comes from as a "spiritual danger." A spiritual danger! Is that not what we experience when we consume our petrol mindlessly as we do without acknowledgement of the depletion of nature and cost to human life?

He says "if one has cut, split, hauled, and piled his own good oak, and let his mind work the while, he will remember much about where the heat comes from, and with a wealth of detail denied to those who spend a week in town astride a radiator."

I am not going to split my own oak for heat anytime soon, but let you and I just ask ourselves if we know the details of where our heat comes with the same deep consciousness and thought for its replacement as Aldo did. While sawing, he recalled exactly where the tree originated from, what it measured in length and width, what was going on in history at the time of its birth, and what the oak had to survive to get to this age. When another oak was felled by lightening on his property, he allowed it to properly age in the sunshine it could no longer use, and then split it one fine winter day secure in the knowledge that there was a renewable source of new wood growing on his farm. Do we consume our heat with that level of awareness and consciousness about where it's coming from, how it shall be renewed, and at what cost?

The forward alone is full of such copious amounts of wisdom it was, again, awe-inspiring to read. May I absorb his wisdom to my bones.

From the forward:

"But wherever the truth may lie, this much is crystal-clear: our bigger and better society is now like a hypochondriac, so obsessed with its own economic health as to have lost the capacity to remain healthy. The whole world is so greedy for more bathtubs that it has lost the stability necessary to build them, or even to turn off the tap. Nothing could be more salutary at this stage than a little healthy contempt for a plethora of material blessings."                                          
                                                                                    ~Aldo Leopold, 1949

You might also enjoy these Wisconsin or nature-related posts:

The Marvelousness of Madison

A Spectacular Hike to Gem Lake

Elk Bugling Season

Couchsurfing Hike to Český ráj

Hiking the Sázava River in Central Bohemia

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Beach Life, Where You Might Least Expect It

Hanging out at the Beach
with Prague Castle in the background

Wow, a sandy beach in Smichov on the river Vltava? Who knew? I had no idea! The New York Times has a report all about it (click on my title to read it).

Has anyone been there? Would you feel comfortable swimming in the Vltava? Can't say that I would. But I'd love the incongruity of enjoying the beach with Prague Castle in the background.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Springtime Saturday Stroll Around the Summer Palace

If we keep walking past Letna Park we could enjoy the grounds of the Summer Palace. It would be the first time this season I have found it open. Would you like to join us for more beauty?

A beautiful little path leads up to
an homage in stone to Czech poet Julius Zeyer

I love Czech tile roofs
and these at Prague Castle
in particular

My friend Sher
is braving the pollen
to enjoy a beautiful spring day

The water sounds like bells
as it drops to the pool below

The Summer Palace

A small sampling of the carving detail

Czechs bring imagination
even to rain gutters

The formal gardens of the Summer Palace

There are over 40 trees of note throughout the garden.
This is my favorite.

This building is called Ball Game Hall.
I think of it as the powdered sugar building
for obvious reasons.

Two beautiful closeups
of the building detail

I never learned what this building was
it's patina was exquisite

Formal flower beds in front

Have you ever had someone else's aesthetics
in your head
and known how much
they would appreciate something?

My mother would completely fall in love
with the Czech Republic and it's beauty.

Here's an intriguing path.
Let's see where it leads us
and what it wants us to see.

A spectacular side view of St. Vitus Cathedral
and Prague Castle.

A close-up of the flying buttresses
of St. Vitus Cathedral

A Czech soldier protects the castle grounds

White pansies with a purple tint

A closeup of what I believe is wisteria


A Prague beauty and her date

Having never seen an orangerie before,
I asked Sher "when was the last time you saw one of these?"

"Last week, actually, in France."
We burst out laughing.
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