There have been few times in my life when my stomach turns, my hands shake, and my feet tingle with fear at the thought of something I have to do to move forward. The climbing I did yesterday had that effect on me at certain points… There are parts of the castle wall where the crenellations stop, leaving the climber with sheer drops on both sides and nothing to brace one’s body against and only your feet to trust. From this I have learned that the rush of surmounting one’s fears is one of the greatest forms of intoxication.
Anyway, yes, I am being careful and more importantly am having blast and making interesting discoveries. First of all, I was thrilled to discover a cache of decorative plaster carvings on a bit of the wall that faces away from the sea. I have to admit, I literally felt like Indiana Jones for a few minutes (yes, I also pretend to be Indiana Jones while I am hiking), albeit with a much more humble treasure than what he usually finds.
Second: there are a couple especially badass sections of the castle that you cannot enter without paying an entrance fee. During our site orientation we visited inside both of these sections briefly, but ever since then I have itched to go back in and explore them more thoroughly.
Well. While climbing around aimlessly I accidentally (it was an accident, I swear!) found a separate way in that bypasses the ticket gate. No one else was inside the citadel so I had the run of the place, exploring the many walled off rooms, gazing out windows, and clambering up stony stairways into watchtowers, trying to imagine the generals, soldiers, merchants, civilians, pirates, historians, students, tourists–all the different people that have inhabited this construction.
Then, imagine, if you will: The exact moment that I place my foot on the highest point of the citadel, with the urban sprawl of Alanya and the brilliant blue sea stretching beneath my gaze…that exact moment, the call to prayer happens. Each muezzin begins his chant a second after the last, the unsynchronized chorus floating up 300 meters to where I stand at the summit of a castle, each voice like a thread braiding together into a disjointed unity… And, when the chanting is done, a brief chorus of digital beeps as each muezzin switches off his speaker 🙂
It was unexpectedly poignant, one of those moments that sews beautiful embroidery on the tapestry of a life.
Have you had any of those moments lately?