This morning…

It’s the sound that begins the morning and ends the day and punctuates the time between: a constant reminder that I am somewhere ‘other’. When done badly it can set your teeth on edge. At other times it is so hauntingly beautiful that you will stop everything just to listen. If you have traveled in this part of the world, you’ll know what I mean. If not, you really should stop and have a listen to this.

Azan: the Islamic call to prayer. Our quarters here in Fevzi Pasa are mere steps away from the mosque so when the azan is broadcast, we have a front row seat. Now, during Ramadan, the call is longer – and quite lovely. I lay in the dark this morning, charmed, enjoying the silence before the various electronic beeps and jingles that rouse the other residents of the women’s dorm. It felt like an invitation to the day had been extended.

I have been spending my days cleaning up the digital files of last year’s illustrations, which has meant eleven hours or more, daily, in front of a computer. I’ve made excellent progress; I’ll likely finish up in the next day or two and begin on this season’s objects. I hear rumours that a few significant things have turned up that I have not as yet seen. Meanwhile, I have been alarmingly sedentary. So I took that invitation.

A few people have begun walking to the dig in the mornings; today I joined them. Away we charged in the predawn light: onto the streets of Fevzi Pasa, passing under the spreading plane tree that, later in the day, will shelter the gentlemen of the town at their coffee and dominoes, across the main square past the railway station, through the narrow underpass (always a little unsettling) and off down the winding road to the highway. I parted with my fellow walkers there and turned back – up the hill this time and face-on to the ever-present blustery wind, arriving just in time to catch the other house staff at breakfast – a brisk half hour, I think. Whew. Felt good!

Now – back to the computer.