Extremes Balance

Extremes Balance

Another 3 days at Güneşköy: the first 3 days of Kurban Bayram – nature’s attraction is stronger than the deterrence of sthe sacrifices. While days are still hot, enough to make us drink and drink preferably frozen water, the nights are now cold, not just cool. As summer turns to autumn, we balance between temperatures…

Tuning in to new visitors takes time. Some rise early; at 6am Alexandra (visiting from Izmir, Sweden) was up giving the dogs water. We set off on a two hour walk, as far as our neighbours over the hill (400m door to door) – stopping repeatedly on the way as the first sunlight stroked the land and changes happened by the minute.

Watch, listen, observe small signals: notice how nature handles (Adaptation might be OK, but not Evolution – now removed from Turkish school curricula) extremes of temperature and humidity. At 7am in Çiftlik Mahallesi, Fatma was greeting her son who had just arrived from Antalya for the Eid celebrations. Foreigners without sufficient language (Alexandra, and me 20 years ago) learn to tune in to non-verbal signals: who is happy and confident, who is quietly observing, who is tired and low on energy… Such knowledge can be vital, enabling us to decide how to best interact. Limited sensitivity or awareness , without bad intentions, can strain the atmosphere…

Like swallows in autumn migrating to more pleasant climes, people tend to move more sensitive companions, with cooperation and understanding.

Please read between the lines! Challenges are unpleasant but those ready to learn can get the lessons: that evening our debriefing lasted till 2am! What messages had we missed? What could we have understood earlier? Early intervention with small steps: can someone be helped to sense a need for behaviour more appropriate to the circumstances? How to flag, signal, give tiny warnings? Each of us felt unsettled, not saying anything, trying to hold back …

Until – like rising flood waters – connection seeped between two us us. Relief, “it’s not just me!” as pressure is released when realising we’d all picked up similar discordances. No, no one had bad intentions; it was simply lack of awareness, and unquestioned certainty of being correct, compounded by weakened listening abilities which resulted in incompatibility. Ultimately, those who had come for peace and nature – like nature itself – prevailed. Patient seeking bears fruit, like plants that push through tarmac.

Theresa, Koray and their boys arrived bringing great energy: positivity, curiosity, understanding and welcome contributions: tea, sugar, homemade cake and jam… Ibrahim settled the kids in with a trip to pick tomatoes. The yellow “bulb” tomatoes attracted more attention and were systematically picked by Atlas, assisted by his elder brother, both before and after they had their midday hammock sleep in thee orchard. Lukas was thrilled by the chickens “They all love me!", he exclaimed as they crowded round… to see what we had brought.

The trick on entering the enclosure is to show even an 18 month-old how to keep the curious animals away for a few seconds – a quick jerk or small jump, and they stop pecking at your shoes/ laces/ trousers… especially important when you are just a little taller than a chicken! Drop a hair clip… and they ran off with it, passing it from hen to hen like a rugby ball! Lukas loves drawing and decorated some of the 55 plant name tags his father made… now anyone will soon be able to find out what various plants are. Theresa’s connection with Güneşköy began on her 3rd day in Turkey: in August 2007, even before her Erasmus semester started, we came toGüneşköy. Later she returned, and five years ago she completed her MSc in Sociology (Vienna University, 2012) – “An Ecovillage Initiative and its Interact”

Sunday Resul ensured all watering was done. Our gang-of-three decided where İbrahim should bury the pond-to-be bath. We all cleaned out the hen houses – my shoulder is now back to full performance. Necessary Tools: water (from hose or bucket), spatula, mask/scarf, hard brush, dustpan, and container to take the manure to its pile…

Finally, at the end of the day, after work was done and everywhere left clean for the next team tomorrow, we had time for more origami and drawing. Yesterday we had made birds… Today, a keen learner folded her first elephant, and I strung up the birds; now hanging from our Mandala structure, Lukas’ dragon stands out with its colours.

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