Time for a gentle stroll up the road. It’s a real blessing that our house is so cool inside; out here, it’s sweltering. The stone and earthen lane carries us uphill towards our larger tea field and hazelnut grove.
We pondered building our house up here, but the surveyor advised that it would not be possible, for the soil is too deep, the topography unstable. Amidst the tea, we have a few fruit trees. Any bare earth that remains is planted with tomatoes, peppers and squashes for the kitchen.
Our neighbours keep chickens for eggs, cows for milk and bees for honey. Their children are all grown up, so are already living the dream we aspire to. One day, we hope to join them, if the Most Merciful wills, perhaps supplemented with a spot of freelance web development and writing. More dreams.
I’m not sure what we would do without our neighbours. They are the best custodians of our land we have had, trustworthy and reliable, mashallah. We were less fortunate in the early days, frequently exploited by those who saw us as gullible foreigners. Nowadays, our neighbours have our backs, alhamdulilah, may God bless them.
This road skirts the upper edge of our main tea field. It takes us up into the forest. Our spring is up there, as are our hazelnut trees. However, it would not be wise for me and my lad to venture there alone. Nobody goes up there without a dog and a gun, lest a brown bear or wild boar attack. Ramblers know your limits.
Still the view from this point is quite sufficient. Here the vista back down across our tea field to our house, the other side of the valley beyond. A lot of these landowners are also returnees from lives built in western Europe. Who could blame them?
This the kind of view the elites and wealthy expats would pay millions of dollars for in Istanbul. We have to remind visitors that I am just a civil servant and my beloved a one-time social worker turned housewife. We’re not members of the glitterati. We’re servants of the Most Merciful.
Here, my soul find rest, less agitated. Here, I could easily make my home, bringing to life that vision I had in my early teens, to life a simple life off the land. One day, if the Most Merciful wills.