Continuous Movement


I took an overnight train from Konya to Istanbul, and snapped this photo as the sun was going down over the Anatolian plain.  I’ve never ridden a proper train before, or at least one that wasn’t connected to a larger metro.  The trip took sixteen hours and we passed squat minarets and blasted mountains and miles upon miles of orchards with fat apples and peaches that swayed in the train’s breeze.  After the train I took a ferry across the Bosphorus, then a taxi, but I kept having to look down at my feet–I’d lost my land legs–the cool tile floors of Istanbul rolled and trembled on imaginary rails.

Even after my enormously awful plane flight home and a handful of days spent sleeping, I still feel like I’m on that train.  This is probably not helped by watching Brief Encounter and reading Graham Greene’s Stamboul Train:

“In the train, however fast it travelled, the passengers were compulsorily at rest; useless between the walls of glass to feel emotion, useless to try to follow any activity except of the mind; and that activity could be followed without fear of interruption.  (…) But in the rushing reverberating express, noise was so regular that it was the equivalent of silence, movement was so continuous that after a while the mind accepted it as stillness.”

I’m just starting to extract individual strains of noise out of the cacophany, to make sense of the summer, and to shudder-start my research/Berkeley/graduate life again.  In the meantime, I’ll be tracing my intials in my breath on the glass windows of the train while I wait for my stop.