Sitting under a mulberry tree by the sea, in Alexandroupolis, Greece, near the border with Turkey, I stare across the sparkling water. A melancholy mood is sapping my energy. The ferry to Samothraki makes me wish to travel further on, but I know I’ve come far enough. This place, at the intersection of continents, symbolizes the crossroads in my own life, leaving behind my youth and entering middle age. I need a push, something to give me strength to take the next step.
I must have fallen asleep because when I come to dusk is falling like rain. I rub my eyes. The town lights flicker simultaneously with their reflections on the water. The notes of a flute pierce the air.
I muse about the times this town has passed between the Bulgarians, the Greeks, the Turks, the Russians; shudder at the thought of how much blood has been spilled. And yet humanity continues, the spirit survives whoever the ruler, whatever the belief. I realize the smallness of my own problem, the disease of vanity and self-preoccupation.
A crow lands next to me. We eye each other for a minute or two, then he flies away. Feeling a sense of acceptance wash over me, I walk to my Pension. The hostess noticing the lifting of my mood offers me a theory about what happened.
“It must have been the dervish, the Holy man of the fifteenth century,” she says. “He spent his days under a tree… he is buried there…”
“They buried him under his tree?”
“They say he still heals those who go to sit under it.”
“Is that the Mulberry tree…?” I start, trying to locate ‘my’ tree for her.
She shrugs, and then I know it does not matter.
in the salty air
a single leaf from his book –
dove with crow
In Contemporary Haibun Online, January 2012