On Sunday afternoon we drove out of Fethiye, up into the pine hills for Uzumlu. Sunday is picnic day in Turkey and pulled off the road, especially near the springs which offer a constant flow of water into stone basins, were colorful families laying out blankets, collecting firewood, and tending barbeques and samovars.
I stayed in Üzümlü for two weeks, in the spring of 2012. Actually, it would be more appropriate to say my boyfriend and I lived there—because we worked each day and went to market to buy our groceries, met the neighbors, and swept the floor.
It’s different in the winter. So quiet on little winding streets that carry one between traditional wooden houses and the still precarious, but newer concrete ones. It was bitterly cold once the sun fell beneath the nearest peak. All sitting water we noticed was frozen. Little waggy brown dogs followed us on our ambulations.
At length we turned and walked back through the village center, which consists of a mosque, a huge hollow plane tree, and the men’s tea house (where old men play backgammon all day), two bakkals—corner stores, one barbershop, and one fellow selling bags of mandarins out of his van in the parking lot. The far side of town was still sunny. We wandered around in olive orchards discussing the curious effect of wealthy expatriates on the local economy & psyche.
Leaving Üzümlü that evening, the sun had set and the entire valley was covered by a soft haze of wood smoke. The surrounding mountains were luminous, the sky clear gradients of purple and rose, and the full white moon had come up behind that mountain in the photo. It was an exquisite sight, and my camera had run out of batteries.