Tips and lessons from the winds

A childhood story that comes to mind is “The Wind and the Sun” (an Akan Story by Farida Salifu). It begins like this: “One day, the boastful wind declared to the sun, ‘You know that I am the strongest and most effective of all the weather!’

“And the sun replied, ‘All weather can be strong and effective.’

“But the stubborn wind disagreed. ‘All weather is strong,’ said the wind, ‘but I am the strongest of all. Let us have a competition to prove this…”

Skipping to the end, the moral of the story is that the wind understands that everything and everybody is different. It is important not to feel that you are better than anybody else. The wind also understands how important it is to work as a team so that you might make the most of the strengths of those around you. And so it was that all the weather worked in harmony, each doing the task best suited to them, each appreciating the work of the other.

Every day, the wind in Syria and the region brings change. This past week the political winds have concerned grave tensions between Turkey and Russia over Syria. There are some strong personalities who each believe they are stronger and working independently rather than as a team against the main enemy.

Well, weather-wise, howling winds also ripped through İstanbul earlier this week. Airline flights and ferries were canceled as a storm hit the city. The wind in İstanbul during this time of the year is not unusual. When it is windy, it is wise to watch out for flying objects. The gusts can rip down advertising billboards and signs and send construction scaffolding crashing down onto the pavement, parked cars and pedestrians.

Though there are many winds that buffet İstanbul, two stand out more than any other: The Poyraz and the Lodos. About a month ago I took a boat trip up to the mouth of the Black Sea and enjoyed a fish dinner in Poyrazkoy. The Poyraz wind lends its name to Poyrazkoy, a small fishing village on the Asian side of the city near Beykoz, where residents make business decisions by the winds.

The name of the village works on two levels. Even before the harbor was built, this was used as a natural shelter for fishermen from Poyraz. The area is a natural cove, or ‘koy’ in Turkish, and ‘koy’ is Turkish for village, making the name both Poyrazkoy and Poyrazkoy, though the sign at the entrance of the village simply says Poyraz.

In my piece, The wind and sea (Oct. 14, 2015) I said you begin to understand the prominence of these winds and how they are reflected in the lines of Turkish poet Nâzım Hikmet’s “Lodos” and another Turkish poet, Umit Yasar Oguzcan, who opens his poem “Istanbul Light” with the verses:

Istanbul, the wind

The wind, my love

Sometimes lodos blows from the seas

Oh so warm

Sometimes poyraz blows like a crazed razor

Let your hair down for the winds of İstanbul

You can’t be without love or the wind in this city.

That crazed razor Oguzcan speaks about is the most prevalent wind in İstanbul. The Poyraz blows from the northeast and hits the northern shores of the city around Riva, Sile and Kilyos. The Poyraz wind takes its name from Boreas, the Ancient Greek northern wind god, who is one of the Anemoi, or wind gods.

The Lodos wind is especially feared. It is said that where the other winds do one kind of damage, the Lodos does 100. Derived from the Ancient Greek south wind god, Nodos or Notus, the Lodos is a dry and warm wind that blows from the southwest. Whereas in ancient mythology, Boreas was characterized as the one having an uncontrollable temper, the Lodos is the most troublesome of the winds for residents of İstanbul. It causes chaos for İstanbulites. Ferry services running from Kadıkoy get canceled when this wind shows its face because it is especially punishing to the southern coast of the city. It paralyzes the Marmara Sea and the part of the Bosporus that meets the Marmara.

Some believe the winds battle over İstanbul, each trying to assert its own place. No doubt this sounds familiar to Syria, too.


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ألباكيركي، نيو مكسيكو، 18 تشرين الأول/أكتوبر، 2017 / بي آر نيوزواير / — أهلا بكم