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Contents / The forest of kasnak oaks

A palette of autumn colors
The forest of kasnak oaks
Splashed with the colors of the kasnak oak, a tree indigenous to Anatolia, the forest at Eğirdir in Isparta province has one of Turkey's most beautiful hiking trails.

I 've never forgotten one of the boyhood memories described by the 1998 Portuguese Nobel laureate José Saramago. Little Saramago's grandfather had suffered a stroke and was going to be taken to Lisbon for treatment. The writer goes on as follows: "My grandfather went to the courtyard of the house, which was full of olive and fig trees, and, weeping, embraced the trees one by one. He was bidding them farewell because he knew he was not going to come back again. If witnessing such a scene does not leave an imprint on the rest of your life, then you lack all feeling."
That passage from Saramago's memoirs came to me as I was strolling through the kasnak oak forest in the village of Yukarıgökdere at Eğirdir in Isparta province. I was standing in the middle of a family of healthy young oaks and their fallen leaves, and the crocuses that sprouted in their midst. In the stillness of the forest I sat down opposite one of the

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