The first sunrise of the year, from behind the tallest and World Heritage mountain in my homeland (No, I was not actually on site to take the photo, this is just a still image of the TV live feed… very serene nevertheless, is it not?)
The mountain has been the object of worship to my people from ancient times, whether in art and writing, religion, or simply as a peak to conquer. The mountain stands strong and tall in solitary, and no man-made structure can entirely obstruct its majestic form – on a beautiful clear day, it can be seen from over three-hundred kilometres (almost two-hundred miles) away!
But far from its tranquil appearance, it is not at all calm. It is quite an active volcano, and over our history, it has repeatedly devastated us by reducing what we have built to nothing with lava and ashes and coinciding earthquakes from eruptions. At the back of our minds, we constantly fear its next outburst and worry that we can never be fully ready for it.
Yet, we still look to it with hopes of regeneration. Its destructive activities to end abruptly our carefree lives are always followed by emergence of new geographic features, fauna and flora, and fascination. What we could not avoid is difficult to accept… but we will adjust how we prepare and not stop to aspire for better outcome in the future.
We have a little saying in my culture about what items are lucky to dream as the first dream of the year, and this mountain is at the top of the list. There are several interpretations as to why it is the most desired first dream, but I like to believe it is because the name of the mountain is pronounced the same way as the words for “well-being” or “being without danger,” and “eternal life.”
Maybe I wanted to share the above photo with you today, so you can dream it as the first dream of the year tonight.
Maybe I wish for us all to dream it, so we can bring in luck to you and your loved ones.
And maybe I aspire to keep it my first, top priority dream of the year, to dream of the well-being of everyone and an eternal life to world peace.
I pray for those who were lost and injured in the wee hours of the first day of this year, just as I was watching the first sunrise of the year. Maybe the mountain of fear is formidably tall, but I like to believe there will always be a light of hope waiting for those who climb over it. Let us climb together… you do not stand solitary tonight, Istanbul.
Happy New Year to everyone – I wish you a sweet first dream of the year and good luck in making it come true!