I warn you this is a miracle story! Read at your own risk :).
On Sunday 29th of May, I wanted to explore the mountains around Tatvan. I texted a number of people I know in town but no one wanted to come along. So 'come as it may' I said and set out.
At first I went to the site where we decided to hold the 'Earth Healing Gathering.' It is a boarding school for out of town children in the area. Once there I decided to keep walking up the road. Nazli, a friend of mine from Tatvan had told me the road will eventually join the mountains and the forests. While walking a number of local people asked me where I was going. I just said 'there' pointing to the mountain. I could understand that there aren't many visitors like me walking about their streets. But no one bothered me, or tried to stop me, which is a noble characteristic of the Tatvanese people, for which I love them.
As I walked away from town, I noticed the population of wild plants started to increase. At first I noticed the nettles, then a tree whose leaves look like oak, then hawthorn, and my excitement was perked.
Children noticed me, a stranger in their world, and started to follow me, saying 'hello' in English. I answered them in kind. Then a local man told me how to find the path to the mountain. I saw two Kurdish women tilling their land for new crops. They too were startled to see a stranger like me walking in their part of the world, but they did not bother me. They also asked where are you going? 'To the church?' they asked. 'Yes' I said. That way, that way, they pointed to the mountain.
On and up I walked. I was then clearly out of town and into wilderness in a very short distant. As I approached the foothill of the mountain I noticed the increase in biodiversity already. My excitement became palpable as I saw the beautiful colony of moss and lichen together on an impressive piece of rock. I noticed a marble kind of stone strewn on the path. The beauty of the stone touched my heart deeply and I rejoiced at the rocks.
By this time, to go further I had to climb a big rock, using both my arms and legs. I was acutely aware that I had been suffering from a frozen shoulder from the beginning of the year, for about five months now. My left arm was almost incapacitated and I could not lift it fully. 'How could I climb this rock?' I thought. 'I will climb this rock' I heard my inner voice say. By this time I started to feel a lightness in my left shoulder. This was a new sensation for me since my frozen shoulder syndrome started almost half a year ago. I lightened my load, leaving my rucksack behind and only carrying my camera up with me. I grabbed the rock and climbed noticing that my left shoulder and arm were easing from the pain and tightness that had inhibited me for so long.
Up and onward I walked, feeling a little lonely, wishing some of my friends had come along there. Just then, in the distant, on top of a rock I saw the silhouette of a man sitting on a rock. It felt like an instant granting of a wish!
As I emerged from the rock-climbing, I had a chance to look around. Then I saw the shape of an old Armenian church that was abandoned now. The air felt very pure and clean here. I felt a natural pull to go and explore the area around the abandoned church. I also noticed the increased life force around this part, including more insects like grasshopper and bees. As I walked around I noticed a very welcoming sensation in my body, a lightness of being, especially in my left arm and shoulder. I became aware of this sensation and welcomed it. I also was aware of an immense grief that lived in this spot. As I approached the old church, somehow I could not hold my tears back. I just allowed myself to feel what was happening. I walked, I felt the land, I cried, I also rejoiced for being here. Then I felt something lifting from my body. Startled, I raised my left arm. Lo and behold, I could raise my arm! This was something I was not able to do for a few months! And then I really started to cry! I felt deeply touched by the spirit and grace of this land.
Just then I heard the animals. Looking over to the other side I saw a herd of goats, just coming down the mountains. Accompanying them was a young shepherd whose silhouette I had seen earlier. We greeted each other and soon, established that between Farsi and Kurdi, we could communicate, somehow. It did not take long for us to build a rapport. I asked Momet, the shepherd to take a photo of me. He quickly learned how to use my rather complex camera. Gingerly I raised my arms, and they went up! My joy was immense!
After spending a little time with Momet and his goats, I pointed to the rock I saw him on earlier. 'Is it far?' I asked in Farsi. 'Not very far,' he said in Kurdi. I am going there, I told him. 'This is the way,' he said. I was overjoyed at this stage to discover how much we could communicate by our kin yet distanced, languages.
As I climbed up and higher, I witnessed even more plant and biodiversity, feeling truly in heaven! From the top of the rocks I had an eagle's point of view to see all around. I could sadly see the pollution of the lake too and wished to communicate ways in which this pollution could be avoided.
Momet joined me a little while later on the top rock and we communicated some more through the delightful common words we kept discovering between Farsi and Kurdi. Soon he left with his herd of goats. I slowly made my way down, but slowly. Touched by the spirit of the mountain, I stopped here and there to take photographs of the marvels and beauties I saw all around me.
As I descended the path of the mountain toward civilisation, I kept hearing a verse from Hafiz in my head in Farsi : 'فیض روح اقدس ار باز مدد فرماید
'.دیگران هم بکنند آنچه مسیحا می کرد
Which roughly translates as ' If the holy spirit graces us again, others too will do what Christ had done.'
I saw Momet the last time on this day. I shouted from the top of the mountain, 'where is the path?' He was small as a speck at the bottom of the mountain but he heard me. With his infinite kindness he pointed the way and waited to see that I find the path. Then he was gone.
At the bottom of the mountain I was a transformed person! As I walked through the neighbourhood, I found I could connect with people more easily. I greeted those who looked at me with 'Merhaba.' 'Hoş geldiniz' I heard people say from their home windows, which means 'welcome.' I felt the mountain was talking to me.
my frozen shoulder was miraculously healed by the energy of the mountain
I hear the land
and understand people
here in Tatvan
I delight in a language
born as a twin to my mother tongue
then the two languages, Farsi and Kurdi
flowed down the river of time
changing in accents
sounding sweetly familiar in my ears
my heart is here
I belong to the earth
and one with her people
I am not a foreigner
there are no foreigners
we are one people
belonging to the earth
Lying down on her bed
of moss and twigs
beneath the ancient araucaria tree
I heard the earth whisper to me
"I will heal you"
"Thank you" said my body
who is pierced with pain
"I am ready to be whole again."
Volcan Lanin, Chile, April 21, 2016
We converged in the beautiful ground of Gümüslük Academy near Bodrum in Turkey. Representatives from 4 countries gathered for one purpose : bringing our strengths and desires together to heal our damaged earth, and in doing so activate our own power and potential as movers and healers.
We mixed the soil we brought from Iran, Turkey, Syria, Palestine, and Scotland with an invocation to make our soils fertile and alive again. We mixed the waters from our countries with an invocation to remove all barriers on the flowing of our waters, both at the country and personal levels. We shared words of inspiration from our literature to share oneness of our humanity. We burned twigs and wood we brought from our land to light a sacred fire in each of our lives and for us as a group to have the fire we need for the Gathering.
Magical seeds appeared by way of Alp who had grown and saved them on his land. At the end of the Convergence we planted the seeds together in the Gümüslük Garden guided by Saad's expertise in agro-ecology. We planted the seeds in the soil of our countries, watered by the water we mixed from our lands.
I had this dream before the Convergence that we will come together - people from the 4 corners in the Fertile Crescent. We will make new seeds together. Seeds of Renewal, Regeneration, Restoration. We take the seeds home with us and plant them. The seeds grow and become trees, different trees in each region. In time the leaves and branches of the trees sway in the wind and the crown of trees pick up a resonance that is carried on the wind from place to place. The trees know that in our difference we are united. The trees grow, restoring the health and vitality of the Fertile Crescent.
The Convergence in Bodrum seeded this dream at the physical level.
I am ever grateful to all 18 of us seedy gardeners of our Fertile Earth.