>baki and i are in istanbul for a week and then we are going to england for another week to see some members of my dad’s family. it was hard for me to leave the garden, and this made me think of how different leaving a garden behind is from leaving a house behind. as i left, there was so much about to happen, and many of those things will happen in my absence. let me enumerate them, and when i return i can see what has become of them.
the bees are probably going to warm while i am gone, and this is the things that fills me with chagrin. a week ago, our craggy old neighbor brought a beekeeper to our garden. durmus abi has about twenty five hives that he leaves in a clearing down the road from our house. he ambled up to the hives, his beekeeper’s jacket torn and covered in propolis stains. he asked me to light the smoker so he could open up the hives and take a look. while i did that, he looked at some trees that omer amca had grafted for us, and he, omer and ali talked grafting. it is a sort of local obsession around our parts — everyone has about a million opinions about it.
when all was ready, durmus abi headed for the hives. he told ali that he didn’t need to suit up, and he did not put his hood on, but left it hanging down his back. he opened the hive and with the smoker went puff puff puff, always moving slowly and calmly. he pried the boards off the frames, puff puff, and lifted them up, staring in at the bees. puff puff, he lifted a frame out and we saw queen cells — special places where queens could be raised (queens are made by the diet they receive — royal jelly all the way). “are they closed or open?” he asked, “”closed,” we said. he examined them some more, then opened the second hive, and we discovered there that there were two frames missing. “there are too many young to do anything now, but when the chaste tree flowers open at the end of june you have to take care of this,” he said. omer amca perched on a rock, smoking a cigarette. when it was done, he spat on the ground a carefully put his cigarette out. the bees, durmus abi declared, would swarm in about 10 days.
other things that i have noticed in the garden: the raspberries are coming along, as are the blackberries; there are little green marbles showing up on the tomato plants; the sunflowers are coming along; and the cicadas have not started up yet — i am sure that by the time i return, their chanting will mark the sunlight hours.
we put so much of our hearts into our land that i suppose it is inevitable that we feel we have left a part of ourselves behind when we leave it.

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