10 years ago, I was a fledgling English teacher, and Ali was a tour guide and translator. One of the highlights of our year was the Istanbul Film Festival (which is going on now) because we worked on subtitles and got passes that let us in to any movie.
I still remember the thrill of slipping into a side door to a showing of the Chinese film noir, Blind Shaft just as the lights went out and finding two empty seats that seemed to have been waiting for us. And there was also a memorable translation that I still laugh about from a Turkish film that I was editing the English subtitles for: “Cut the crab!”
When I think back on those days, we seem like different people now. We’ve got two kids and a two acre garden. We’re more likely to fill sacks of manure together than go out to a movie or duck into a restaurant.
However, we were always headed here. Because there is one thing that we have done together without fail every year and that is sow seeds together. In February and March every year (with a few weeks on either side added in for good measure) we spend hours making paper pots and filling them, dropping seeds into little holes and writing labels. We’ve planted our seedlings in other people’s gardens, on our terrace, at my parents’ house, and now here, in our very own garden, which is literally our dream come true.
So although we never go out to do much of anything on our own anymore, I know we’ll have that time side by side with the seed packets when Spring approaches again, just as we have every year for the past decade.
… is the name of this lovely opium poppy, being scrutinized here by Baki and my mom:
The seeds were from Thompson & Morgan; I picked them up in London in December. They always tell you on the seed packets that poppies hate being transplanted, so you ought to direct-sow them. We sowed these in paper pots and then transplanted them; there are so many weeds, we rarely sow flower seeds directly. Anyway, I believe that there isn’t a plant on Earth that relishes being transplanted. It’s like babies, though- some plants let you get away with it and they don’t complain, while others make sure they get exactly what they want (if that makes any sense at all).
Here is a closer look: