6 FLASH DRAWINGS FROM THE TRAIN

Distant Brown MountainsPeople were on fire to save ancient Hasankeyf from the Ilisu Dam Project. The two prime movers of this 2007 protest, Guven Eken of Doga Dernegi and Ozcan Yüksek, editor of Atlas Magazine, organized a conference on the train. With my scanty Turkish, I couldn’t follow the conference but I drew the passion on the faces as the train roared into the gathering dark.

05Conference on the Train72 - 6 FLASH DRAWINGS FROM THE TRAIN
Conference on the Train ©2007 TriciVenola

It made me ill to think that in California they were just then beginning to dismantle dams, as harmful to the ecology. But here, it’s not just ecology, it’s irreplaceable world history. In the middle of the night, indigestion kept me up to see a full moon on the loneliest train station in the world. Was it called Sapak?

03The Loneliest Station72 - 6 FLASH DRAWINGS FROM THE TRAIN
The Loneliest Station ©2007 TriciVenola

As we racketed across rural Turkey, I drew dozens of tiny thumbnails. Each image flashed by in a second, complete and perfect. 

08Old Woman Pulling A Sheep - 6 FLASH DRAWINGS FROM THE TRAIN

04Hillock Door - 6 FLASH DRAWINGS FROM THE TRAIN

A woman tugging at a sheep, a door in a hillock, a long mud-brick barn, olive trees and grassy knolls and forlorn dusty riverbeds, sad bridges unused;

River Drying Upin the distance the bright hard blue of the huge dams.
Only Bushes Toward Malatya, known as Turkey’s breadbasket, the land began to look like the Garden of Eden.

04Distant Brown Mountains - 6 FLASH DRAWINGS FROM THE TRAIN

Train 7 - 6 FLASH DRAWINGS FROM THE TRAIN

07Mountainscapes - 6 FLASH DRAWINGS FROM THE TRAIN

I drew sheaves of poplar trees, tiny houses, orchards everywhere.

07Hillside Orchard - 6 FLASH DRAWINGS FROM THE TRAIN

04Two Houses - 6 FLASH DRAWINGS FROM THE TRAIN

Train 9 - 6 FLASH DRAWINGS FROM THE TRAIN

06Hay Behind Barns - 6 FLASH DRAWINGS FROM THE TRAIN

 The very air was full of essence of apricots. Here, the rivers have water.

Before Malatya
Cinderblock Power Lines

Train 5 - 6 FLASH DRAWINGS FROM THE TRAIN

Sunflower Harvest

06Apple Tree Offering - 6 FLASH DRAWINGS FROM THE TRAIN

 Next day: a row of people standing next to sacks full of potatoes in a field, a flock of turkeys, a flat-topped mound with a rectangular cut in it and trucks drawn up: an archeological site.

07Goat Train - 6 FLASH DRAWINGS FROM THE TRAIN

A long line of goats walking along the bottom of a cliff, and in the dawn, the full moon showing a different face.

04Moon - 6 FLASH DRAWINGS FROM THE TRAIN

Near Mt. Aegeis, the highest point in Turkey, we racketed past  mesas and ramparts of stone jutting out of the dry grassy hills. 

06Hilltop Community - 6 FLASH DRAWINGS FROM THE TRAIN

A giant, many-pointed black rock loomed near a green hilltop community. Its citizens in antiquity must have believed that the gods lived there.

Mt Aegeis

Goat Barn

Spike HillsThe mountains grew higher and sharper as we started into tunnels.

Train 1 - 6 FLASH DRAWINGS FROM THE TRAIN

Spectacular vistas shot past: jagged peaks soaring into the clouds and dizzying glimpses down bottomless canyons covered with cedar trees.

Ahmet Gets a Shot

Stunned, I stopped drawing and just gaped along with everyone else on the train. We stopped to see a hand-cut tunnel near the tracks, so old nobody knows who cut it.

Train 2 - 6 FLASH DRAWINGS FROM THE TRAIN

Train 3 - 6 FLASH DRAWINGS FROM THE TRAIN

None of this can be seen from the road, only the rails. A sudden thatched roof on a terraced hodgepodge of brick and wood near some olive trees, and the whole family out taking the sunset air, a little boy and girl up on a cistern, waving.

07Family Waving on Roof - 6 FLASH DRAWINGS FROM THE TRAIN

Near Diyarbakir, the copper casts blue shadows into the rust of the mountain towns.

06Mountain Village - 6 FLASH DRAWINGS FROM THE TRAIN

08Running River - 6 FLASH DRAWINGS FROM THE TRAIN

04Tractor - 6 FLASH DRAWINGS FROM THE TRAIN

06Car Stopsign - 6 FLASH DRAWINGS FROM THE TRAIN

We had been warned that malcontents might attack our train in this area, and they did: several windows were hit with rocks, the shatterproof glass spiderwebbed behind the posters that said THE HASANKEYF TRAIN.

Malcontents Hurling Rocks

Buket saw the malcontents: three little kids. In the dining cars everyone drank coffee and tea and ate kebap and grinned at the waiters and charged their telephones at the outlets. By now many of us women had bright scarves over our flat sweaty hair. By the end of the trip these had bloomed into fantastical headdresses. We felt bonded for life.

04Flock of Sheep - 6 FLASH DRAWINGS FROM THE TRAIN

Rocking the Cradle of Civilization in Hasankeyf NEXT: LITTLE GIRL DRUM

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