Village in the Sky
We weren’t at his mother’s village yet, but getting closer. Project patron Celal Ögmen grew up in this village a few decades ago before coming to Istanbul to make his fortune. Here it is from a hilltop, with Lake Van beyond.
It was in a nearby sheep pasture that I drew the picture of the Aqueduct, which I’m holding up with the drawing, the shepherd, and tea. He had brought the tea from a nearby house, made by the mother of the little girls in the drawing.
These little girls are out in their front yard, and so is this Armenian tombstone.
The tombstone was obviously half-buried, with only the much-weathered close end sticking up. I met many people who said, “Oh my grandmother was Armenian…” etc. Innocents like these little Kurdish girls were born into the churning wake of history, standing in their own front yard over an exquisitely carved tombstone at their home near the Aqueduct.
He leaped up on the very edge of the ancient aqueduct and harangued the sheep, while all around him was glory. He did it just as I had gotten to that place in the drawing, as though it had been planned. We are in A Suphan, where project patron Celal Ögmen grew up, and he particularly asked me to draw the aqueduct. This took about an hour and a half to draw, sitting on the old stones while chickens strutted nearby. That’s Lake Van out there, and this aqueduct originally ran all the way down to it, a few thousand years ago in the Kingdom of Urartu.
Turn around on the hilltop over the village and there is Suphan Dagi, the second-tallest mountain in Turkey. Everyone in town calls it Father Mountain.