All the tea in Turkey, Çamlıhemşin
Where I knew it before: a weepy pale delicacy in dinky china, with cake and cotton napkins, milken in wide brimmed cups built for the poised circumference of two hands. Now my image of tea is overturned.
It darkens. And becomes the viridian stripes of knee-high hedges, terraces on steep slopes. Dark green leaves trimmed as privet is. Bunched in a sack on the back of a truck or stuffed into bags by women standing in the mid-day dim, caked in mud the colour of black tea.
Tea that tumbles vertical from cloud. Green air. A dark wooden box of a house high on the cliff to which supplies are delivered by winch.
Staring at the rapids of the river Fırtına (the ‘storm’ river) I get a dizzy magic-eye effect when I move my gaze up the still pattern of the trees on the far bank. Banks outrageously lush with tall forest.
It’s dizzying too, to not be able to see the top of that hill. To only feel it above the mist. To feel that where the mist gives way are the alpine plateaus, the yaylaları, and then the peaks of the Kaçkar mountains themselves.