Patara Beach


On this beach sound and sand we lay ourselves to rest:
an annual punctuation, a colon and breathing space,
kindling and basking delighted by overlapping waves
of welcome: a silver thread in tiredness’ tapestry.

Tourists and turtles take their turns digging to cool sand
for new generation; young engineers make their marks
and build playful fortifications without calculation,
fear or hope of castles not withstanding nature’s storms.

Backed by wholesome sun I chase my shadow along the shore.
The load lightens. My trace disappears. Crabs sidle home.
A stranger nods a Merhaba in my direction looking out
another place and pace: life less dash or need for colon.

A far cry comes from the harbour, long silted and stranded
in history and imagination. “Phoenicia bound?”,
the ship’s master’s call to those piering their next purpose
and horizon, and those otherwise beached and bedraggled.

Luke, a passenger, packs a gospel for this new ark
with his two by twos, his hims and hers, his young and old,
his Jew and Greek, and Paul, his complementary pair embark,
Turks off Patara beach, where the sun shines after storms.

PS. References:
Merhaba is the Turkish greeting “hello”.
Luke and Paul changed ships at Patara.

And so, with the tearful good-byes behind us, we were on our way. We made a straight run to Cos, the next day reached Rhodes, and then Patara. There we found a ship going direct to Phoenicia, got on board, and set sail. Cyprus came into view on our left, but was soon out of sight as we kept on course for Syria, and eventually docked in the port of Tyre. While the cargo was being unloaded, we looked up the local disciples and stayed with them seven days. (Acts 21:1ff)

A turnaround

And so we set sail from Patara. Well we flew home from our holidays actually.

We arrived in Patara fairly wrecked, but left refreshed and restored, thanks to the place, its people, many friends and a great climate. We thrived on the wonderful welcome and service we had (particular thanks to Nadi and Mehmet at Golden Lighthouse). Nothing is too much trouble for the lovely people of this quiet village. I wonder how deep rooted traditions of hospitality and generosity need to be to be effective. They certainly seem to be part of Patara culture, which traces its history back beyond the days when it was the capital city of the Lycian League. It is a place that does us good at so many levels.

Acts 21:1 refers to Paul’s journey through Patara. Paul and Luke came to Patara via Kos and Rhodes. They changed ship at Patara to sail to Syria. It was good to be following in Paul’s footsteps, coming into Patara one way, and leaving in an altogether better shape for the onward journey.

Çok tesekkur ederim, Patara.

St George’s international holiday

Palestinians, Moscovites, Ljubljanans, Beirutians, Genovians, citizens of Maltese cities Qormi and Victoria, and people of Bosnia-Herzegovena, Bulgaria, Canada, Catalonia, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece, Macedonia, Portugal, Romania & Serbia enjoy celebrating the life of Saint George, along with the English – some of whom violently fly the flag of St George in the face of the dragon of multiculturalism. Long live the dragon and thank God for Wikipedia.
Photo by Guy Evans at Birmingham Culture