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Gümüslük Place of dreams
2002 / October

Gümüslük is a place of dreams. Wearing my clogs I walk through a sea that does not even reach to my knees. Ahead of me is a small island. I must be in my early twenties. Gümüslük is a dream.
Have I been to Gümüslük? I remember treading on stones as I walk through the water. I even remember a photograph in which I am wearing a hat bought from Bodrum, and a red skirt which I have pulled up to my calves even though the water only comes up to my ankles. I laugh at the unnecessary precaution and groundless qualms. And what am I wearing with the skirt? Now that I cannot remember. So long as I have a photograph as a witness the vision of Gümüslük must be real. When you consider that my excitement about places I am going to exceeds that for places I have come from, it must really be me looking at the island ahead and its silhouette.

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Gümüslük Place of dreams
2002 / October

Years later I learnt from a brightly coloured tourism brochure that the island to which I had walked through the sea was Tavsan Adasi. Like my own early youth now left behind it seems far off and strange. Yet on the walk towards Tavsan Adasi that day I was trailing my youth and my youthful dreams and other visions with me. So much so that the embodiment of my Gümüslük adventure suddenly became that walk to the island.

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Gümüslük Place of dreams
2002 / October
What has happened to the warmth and friends of that day? To the pleasure that accompanied the steam rising from the ground to the heavens? When did I go to Gümüslük? I was young, very young. Self-confident enough to take no advice, perceptive enough to give none. But now look at me advising you not to return from Gümüslük without visiting Tavsan Adasi. Because Gümüslük, like all rare things and beautiful places, takes on meaning when seen from the outside inwards, not from the inside outwards. The island affords you such a viewpoint. At the same time it politely protects Gümüslük from the open sea. 'The courtesy of Rabbit Island' would not be a misguided definition, because this island does not make itself felt as such, or as a barrier.
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Gümüslük Place of dreams
2002 / October

What it makes you feel is the horizon beyond and infinity. As it proudly salutes Gümüslük it seems to say to those strolling upon it, 'O mortals! Do not sail out to sea without calling on me!'
Yes, have I ever been to Gümüslük? You walk to Rabbit Island through water up to your knees. Before turning to look around you see the distant past. In the skies of Gümüslük you will discern smoke from the houses of Myndos, the Carian city which originally stood here. It was King Mausolos who in the 4th century BC founded the city whose spirits now lie beneath the water that you see today. His stubbornness and creative imagination are concealed in this history. Until Gümüslük Academy was founded by the novelist Latife Tekin and a few friends, no one else in the thousands of years since his time had the courage to create anything new in Gümüslük. So my greetings to the academy.

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Gümüslük Place of dreams
2002 / October

Did I really go to Gümüslük? As I was saying, you were walking through water up to your knees. Behind was Gümüslük, 20 minutes' drive away from Bodrum. Approaching Gümüslük, just after crossing the ridge at Peksimet with its old windmills, that spectacular vista was suddenly spread before you. A valley of citrus gardens, and beyond the blue sea sprinkled with green islands. Blue, green and white, those ancient colours, were exuberantly mingled, as were the scents which filled the air.
Then the winding road carried you down to Gümüslük, where the water was so clear that the history which lay beneath it was visible just beneath the surface. You were very young. You did not think of taking off your dark blue clogs. You pulled up your skirt and began to walk through the water to the island so that you could look at Gümüslük from there. You looked, and what you saw was the past looking at the present

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Gümüslük Place of dreams
2002 / October

As you walked towards Tavsan Adasi through the shallow water concealing ancient walls and breakwaters, you looked out to sea to the horizon, your face turned to the summer breeze blowing from the northwest. Now close your eyes. The Gümüslük through which you plunged in your red skirt as a fresh young girl, like the game of skimming stones across the surface of the water, is right there.


* Müge Iplikçi is a short story writer.

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