Zerky in Istanbul, Turkey

Map of Anatolia

Santa Sophia Mosque

Santa Sophia Mosque

October 28, 1967.

Dear Zerky, we have been in Istanbul for three days now. The most magical time of all is early morning when the first glimmer of dawn begins to wash away the stars and the muezzins call the faithful to prayer. Each morning from our campground on the European shore of the Sea of Marmara, I hear three of them at once, their quavering voices piercing the silence like twisting silver shafts. Half-awake, I continue lying there in my sleeping bag, my sleep-sopped brain awash in three separate rivers of sound. Five minutes, ten minutes. . . it finally stops. Still not wanting to get up, I continue to lie there while savoring these sounds of the new world awaiting us on the other side of the bridge over the Bosporus. Then I pull up my eiderdown bag and drift happily back to sleep.

Unfortunately, we cannot stay here much longer. Autumn is in the air and we are becoming apprehensive lest a sudden snowfall close the mountain passes into Northern Iran. We are now on the only overland route to the East.

—Excerpted from Letters to Zerky


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