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With Aylin

It’s dark outside, totally dark, pitch black.
Unknowns hidden in the dark,
Jinnies, monsters, creatures living in the forest
and worse, bad humans.
I’m looking at it from my “safe” indoors,
What I’m seeing are the fears of my mind, soul
I should go out;
Go out and see or smell or feel.
Stand in the middle of darkness to see that nothing bad will happen.
I can’t see that from where I am now
Going out,
Facing it is safer for my soul than looking at it afar
and getting afraid of my own demons.
(Aylin Yazan  )

Aylin is my third guest. She is a Turkish journalist working for the BBC and living in London. She came from London to Llanidioes on Sunday. Our plan was that me and Andy could pick her up from there and have a lovely dinner in my cottage. But life made another plan for us. There was a storm and very heavy rain. We were waiting for Aylin in the pub but a message came from her instead. It said “Because of the rain the bus had to change its route. We won't be able to come to Llanidloes.” We made a new plan and decided to pick her up from Machynlleth. We left the pub and drove to Machynlleth. Driving was not easy in this strong rain and some parts of the road were like a river… My anxiety already started. When we arrived at Machynlleth, there was no internet, no phone signal. We went to some shop and asked them where the bus station was. The woman there told us that there wasn’t a bus station there and the internet was down. My hands started shaking. But Andy was very calm and said let's drive around the town centre. He was confident we would see her. I definitely wasn’t sure about it. I pushed my brain to think of other options but then, Andy saw her. She was waiting for us. I was so glad that Andy was right and Aylin was so glad because we found her. We drove back to the cottage. When we arrived it was half past ten.

Living outside time: I’d thought minutes would run very slow here. Never thought that I would have got bored, and I'm not getting bored, however time fires faster here then I imagined. There is this “dead earth” covering life outside the house, almost everything is in a deep sleep, surrendering to the never ending rain and wind. Of course there are exceptions, like pine trees and moss, defying winter and the cold. Don’t they experience time like us? They’re evergreen, so does it mean that time doesn’t exist for them? What would it feel like having all that time? Would it make us more proactive or lazy? 

Inside home there is another perception of time, still ruled by daylight and darkness, and our meal times, still counted over 24 hours, as some people once invented “the day”, I don’t know when. And we have all these minutes of 24 hours for ourselves, unlike the city life. So I thought a day would feel so long here but that is not what I’ve experienced in my first 2 days though. It’s almost night again, all I did was a bit of cleaning in the morning, burning the fire in the Rayburn, breakfast, asking questions to Meltem. Yes, I think the magic lays in here. Asking a question to Meltem is like
slightly opening a door to a room but then the door keeps on opening itself and you see a magical world in there. I felt like a spotlight at first, pointing to a direction to see what is in there, but then trying to control it has become so hard cause Meltem points so many directions so I don’t know which one to focus. I flow in the air, to a wind blown by Meltem. She has a magical world and because she tells everything as if they are the stories of other people. I mean it is hard to see the marks that these stories left in her, in her sound or facial expression, it’s so easy to forget that I’m listening to things that she herself lived. It’s like having a storyteller in a village in those old times, when there was no tv, internet, and the storytellers were the main attraction, and the only interesting thing, in a village. 

When Aylin said to me during her visit, “Thank you for your trust in me”, it startled me, as she was recognising the value of the trust that is so natural to me. However, after I heard Aylin’s words about trust, it reminded me of all the times when my honesty and openness was not respected or valued and I would become aware that I had been played or done over again. Ask me a question then I will tell all the story to you without any boundaries. I always try to explain everything very clearly but sometimes it seems to backfire.  Many times I have been misunderstood because I’m telling whatever is on my mind or what I have been through without any effective filter to protect myself. It's really hard for me to understand that the world wants my honesty but wrapped up in tact, warped. Blunt, honest speech has got me into trouble all my life. I try to control myself not to tell everything to everybody but it’s so hard for me. I know I have to learn to control this because it’s not good for me and the other person.

The thing I resonated with most in here was the firewood with its skin on. You assume that they'll burn easily, their skins feel so dry and cracked, but no, when you put them in the Rayburn, flames slide over them and it doesn’t burn. The skin protects the tree from burning. Like we do. We grow skins, fire proof shields.

During this week Aylin was responsible for the fire. Every morning and after our walking she burns the stove and keeps the fire alive. Sometimes she stood in front of the stove and watched the fire for minutes at a time. I believe sometimes fire calls us to join it. To feel it and to learn from it. Fire can be very useful but at the same time can be very deadly… Fire… People…  Relationship… Fire… People…

It feels like living inside a balloon floating in the air, there is no time, it belongs to nowhere, it’s infinite and limitless. It’s like stepping into parallel universes, and a different time frame. Life outside seems like another reality. It feels like the time has stopped in the outside world, and will continue when I go back. So have I cheated in “real life.” It feels like that, as if it has stopped me and I will press the button to start it when I go back. And there is one more thing I wonder: Do we experience the sadness or happiness about things happening in the “real world” a little less intensely here? Does being away mean feeling away from it too?...

What I discover living in Elan Valley is I always let myself feel good when people tell me that I’m good, I’m helpful, I’m ok; and I feel very bad when they tell me I’m not good, that I’m not understanding them…  I live to fulfill other people’s expectations even though I act as though I don’t care about what others think. I live up to every damned expectation of theirs. I’m like a puppet. I only consider myself to be good in the eyes of others… Others, others, others…. I’m so tired of it.

After I have been living here, I feel very peaceful and happy to be alone. I discover loneliness is not cured by human company. Loneliness is curbed by contact, the reality. And making contact with nature allows me to understand how I am able to contact reality. I focus on nature and I push myself to be in the present and not lose myself in my emotions and my thoughts.  For that reason, I experience sadness or happiness less intensely here. But the real challenge for me is to see how I will handle things in the “real world” when I have to stay away from Elan Valley for two months...

It’s crazy stormy, windy outside but it’s in the nature of it. It’s a valley so it should be stormy. It didn’t frustrate or upset me that the weather was always either windy or rainy/ hailstorms. On the contrary, it helped me to cut myself from the world I’ve known. It doesn’t resemble the places I’ve been so far. Of course it looks like many other places I’ve been but it’s a new place to me because the forest is giving a fight to be born and flourish again. And the copper coloured lands are like from another planet.

The date of today is full “2” according to the “Elan Calls” book, 2 symbolizes “receptive, accepting, collaborative. Diplomacy and meditation are key.” It sounds like the recipe for a social life without problems. It’s a bit scary to think that I’ll be out in crazy crowded London tomorrow evening, after a week where I saw only 3-4 people in total. It's been a pretty easy week, I still don’t know how the time passed. I could have easily stayed here for longer but I’m still curious about the nice, creative things other people add to our world.

Getting used to the cold 
Like a frozen body 
My hard dying like a felled tree
My screams drowning
Alive insanity growing
Deals with the pain of pleasure 
Of unimaginable pleasures
On the edge of pure curse
Release your fears...

All the words in italics have been written by Aylin Yazan


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