It should have happened but didn't

It should have happened but didn't
23/08/2020

We'd been planning an astronomy event.  This week we were to catch the last of the Perseid meteor shower. Postponed because of COVID conditions, and the sky was going to be cloudy.  Not enough to rain, but the air felt humid and heavy.  At night the cloud cover is like a mirror, reflecting the artificial light of settlements - light pollution. The night light on the entrance to the glasshouse only reaches as far as two viaduct pillars, while the headlight of the plane heading to land at Esenboğa sheds a strong beam through the cloud.  Before sleep, İbrahim, Baran, Doğukan and I sat at Keşifpoint, looking at stars between the clouds.  Stars or planets? Brightness, magnitude, distance, real size and why do more twinkle near the horizon?  When I woke at 4 in the morning, I took yet another walk outside: without a single cloud in the sky, the Peiades were high above, with Orion rising in the east.  This time no shooting stars...

A second event that didn't happen: seed balls. Doğukan had found this traditional sieve in Ulus: interwoven gut or leather; a work of art. We'd already sifted the vermiculture, the seeds had been ready for weeks, and we had found enough clay soil. We just didn't have enough time...

A first step to a Güneşköy herbarium collection? We'd just visited Tuğrul Körüklü at Ankara University herbarium and I'd asked for training. Why wait? No equipment, but there was some newspaper. No press or heavy books, but some thin books and a box with heavy stones. Let's try. Far fewer flowers than 3 months ago, but a dozen species, enough to have a go. The first try is sure to be flawed, but later I'll be more ready to take in the teaching. Soon I should be able to press flowers like those I showed Tuğrul, those Granny had pressed over 45 years ago, before we left France; he'd been able to name many of them, commenting on how many were also found in Turkish Mediterranean lands. Check out https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/how-to-press-flowers.html. I give some vermicompost to the elder, along with 3.5 litres in the earthenware pot, and another 1.5 litres at the base of the little tree. But who has eaten your leaves?

How many different ways to cut a watermelon? Though quite different in Ordu and Turkmenistan, the flesh is delicious. Doğukan, don't be so sure you can tell which are ripe, and which "kelek", those that will not mature. We now collect seeds separately - the best for planting next season, the rest for nibbling at in the evenings. The ginger is now sprouting. Doğukan, don't try eating them!! This could be Kim's last week: he shows us the Korean alphabet, so logical. Celal has worked out basic communication structures: "You go machine stop" meaning Please go and turn off the water pump. Communication can be so sensitive: a missing comma in a text message can turn a well-intentioned comment turning into a knife-sharp put down. How could Kim's careful request lead to an angry local? We think we have things under control, but a missed cue, hesitation, a mildly deterrent comment, the necessary words not coming quite fast enough: all can take a situation beyond control, a little too off track. Plans could have been better made, better anticipating a few more outcomes, each could dust a little confusion away. Might the key events that trigger evolutionary changes in fact come from an accumulation of tiny items, each adding a little more pressure, until a system is not quite strong enough ...and cracks!

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