I know nothing about antiquity. Let me start with that. I cannot distinguish between Hellenistic and Roman architecture, let alone Doric, Ionic and Corinthian columns. But I do know what I like about these ancient sites: the wonder of a place lived in so long ago and the time to imagine what the times might have been like to experience. Ephesus, on Turkey’s west coast, is heralded as second only to Pompeii in its magnificence as an entire city almost left intact; however instead of conveying wonder, it has been obscenely reconstructed and is awash with tourists. Termessos, a ruin a few hundred miles to the east, is not so well tramped and is a place for the imagination to run wild. Straddling a low mountainous pass, the Pisidian city offers a remarkable necropolis complex, colonnade and theater, to say nothing of unparalleled views for miles around. Yes, it was hot – almost 100 degrees – and steep, and our water ran short, but there was an abundance of solitude and silence, allowing this long gone world to almost open, even if just a crack.
My eyes were closed and I was in this narrow half gap between the back of one thing and the back of another. I thought of the hard dirty sand at the far end and how it looked half round and half hard, each shape sticking out of the other. I didn’t know what that meant, and I remembered this as if I had been here before, half asleep or completely in and then out, in this only the day before and years on. I tried to turn my head out of that, remembering this secret half world that isn’t secret at all but a portal from one thing to the next, the jumping off point of the thing of me here and the thing of me there. It seems that what I’m trying to do is take what I know from each, knowing that isn’t allowed, that it is probably illegal, indeed against the laws of thinking, the rules that keep me human, beyond being stupid, believing this is actually where my head might live. I can only escape for so long and I know I will only come back to here and find that I never left. It seems like that anyway.