When You Know A Place

A place has a certain feeling about it, a resonance that interacts with your senses and tells you you’re there. Some parts of a locale hit you immediately, but others take time. I am intimately familiar with some of my spaces. My homes. My cities. Those are the easiest ones – I can tell you instinctively whether I’m in Ann Arbor or New York. My body knows and responds to the energies of these places.

Other places that I’ve visited frequently, where I’ve wandered the streets and the alleyways, the walks and the byways, I’ve started to learn some of them as well. Rome and Bologna and Florence are three such places that welcome me and make my spirit resound in response.

On rare occasions I have felt that feeling with my first visit to a place. Hanoi was one such place, and while I don’t yet know how she vibrates, I expect I could learn her quickly.

Today I returned to Istanbul, and my soul took wing.

I felt the potential energy of her streets, with her vendors, hawkers, bazaars, and cafes.

Crossing the Golden Horn, I was reminded of the swarms of seabirds that call this place home. And my soul said, “yes, this is right.”

The deep, moaning air horns of the great ships and ferries in the Bosphorus intoned, and my body called back with an enormous sigh.

The massive domed mosques with their filigree minarets slumbered peacefully, waking periodically with calls to prayer.

The laborious hills beckoned me, reminding me of the grinding climbs that characterize so much of this place.

The street food vendors with their sweets and their savory delights tempted me, and I partook.

And the Spice and Grand Bazaars greeted me, where I’ve grown accustomed to being accosted by salesmen with lame pitches, trays of Turkish Delight, and cups of tea.

I bid farewell to Antalya this morning, and her warm sun and palm trees. I flew north to Istanbul, where the air is cool and misty and the clouds hang low and grey in the sky. My driver from the airport was incredibly slow and my room has a view of a blue tarp.

But it doesn’t matter because I’m in Istanbul, one of the world’s great Cities. I won’t be here long, so I mostly have missions, and only one real plan.

And still my soul sings.

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