PAT – Tree story

Tree storyIt’s hot. Yes, after a month of gloriously cool weather, bang, the real Cappadocian summer has just kicked in, catching us completely unprepared.

Thank goodness most of my friends timed their visits for June rather than July. Were they to come here now they’d have to spend most of their time lying down in a darkened room with a fan whirring in front of them rather than striding out into the valleys in search of forgotten churches.

I am writing this from a prone position in front of my own fan with a vague fear at the back of my mind that any second now, the electricity will snap off and I’ll be left to soak in a pool of my own sweat (apologies to those of you over in the east or even down on the Mediterranean coast around Antalya — I know you’ve got it worse than us but right this minute, I’m too hot to think about anyone but myself).The answer, of course, would be to jump into a bathtub full of lovely cold water — except that there too I’m feeling anxious after a couple of days in which while the water didn’t quite vanish altogether, it did trail off into a trickle that had me rushing to fill the buckets just in case.

Actually, I’m amazed that we do still have water given the huge increase in the number of hotels and the concomitant rise in the number of visitors all wanting to take showers at the end of a heavy day’s sightseeing. Why, there are even hotels with private pools in some of their bedrooms now.

And everywhere I look hoteliers are growing flowers that, as I know from my own small garden, are only going to stay alive in the heat if profusely watered twice a day.Given the drought-like conditions affecting so much of the country, it’s surprising to see more greenery than ever, not just in our gardens but also along the roadsides.

Heading for NevIehir in the cool of early evening last week I passed a veritable forest of trees that were only planted a couple of years ago but seem to be doing very well in spite of the heat. Unsure exactly what they are (some kind of acacia?), I call them pom-pom trees because they feature thick roundels of leaves precariously balanced on unfeasibly thin trunks so that they look rather like the neatly clipped tails of poodles.

With their delicate, acid-green leaves, these trees look almost too ornamental for the climate. Instead they look as if they should be growing in the temperate conditions of an English manor-house garden where they would look rather splendid as the backdrop for a lake.

When the occasional cooling breeze riffles through the leaves, they make me think of models before a fashion show running their fingers through their hair That, or ostriches running across the African plains with their feathered bodies bouncing up and down behind their scrawny necks.I know I should drop in to the local branch of that great tree-planting organization TEMA to find out exactly what they are.

Or I should pass by a bookshop and see if it stocks “I-Spy Turkish Trees” or its equivalent. Excuse me if I pass up on the requirement for the time being though.

Instead, I’m going to slouch into the bathroom and run a wet flannel over my sweaty face.Pat Yale lives in a restored cave-house in Greme in Cappadocia.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman