I’m in my last week in Turkey now, returned to Istanbul to pick up my brother on Friday night. I missed the departure of the Freedom Flotilla, a massive blockade-running project bringing aid to Gaza on ships. I am not participating in anything massive, though I went down to the Bosphorus today and watched the ships churn by. I sat on an empty bench, undesirable for its place in the blazing sun, and watched old men fish in the ships’ wake. I’m always amazed how they can cast over and around each other and rarely get their lines tangled. I felt awfully lazy, knowing that I had nowhere to go and nothing to do and remembering the ball of knotted line I created the last time I fished with these guys.
One man in particular staked out the little platform built over the surf. He found a sweet spot, where the wake hit a crosscurrent and swirled up and around a rock wall, and pulled in string after string of little writhing bodies. Their tackle is a long string of decorated hooks with a sinker that each man has a different technique for jerking and and reeling through the surf. If I didn’t know any better I’d see it as semi-sexual, especially when they yell “You’re on fire!” after particularly good casts with a rod between their legs and a cigarette on their lips.
I spent my last days in Ankara doling out spiritual advice to everyone, trying not to sound overly qualified but also casting about for my own comfort. I’m want my own flotilla, but I still feel caught watching folks troll the wake without so much as a fish to show for it. It’s my chronic obsession with doing something grand and notable that’s keeping me from getting my feet wet as a first step to anything. Perhaps I really need to be appreciating my own peace of mind, warm sunshine and new adventures ahead as a first step to everything.