Ignoring all skepticism about the mystery meat we were consuming, we sat cross-legged on the grass with our knees hovering over the ripped cloth used as a blanket. Mehmet, whose hands were stained with paint and aging with wrinkles, tore pieces of meat up for his two boys, while the mother’s hands, smeared with grease, worked the barbeque. The two brothers, ages four and six, ran in circles around the blanket, giddy at our presence in this park away from the bustling Istanbul.
After having spent a night indulging in hotdogs and smores over a fire along Lake Placid Lake, I woke up in a lean to. Sore from the wooden surface I had slept on, I wandered several feet to the dock on the water. The most still I had ever seen the lake, there were only the ripples from the fish that jumped and just one boat anchored in the center of my view. A man sat on the butt of his boat with a fishing rod; he had the right idea on this serene morning.
In Istanbul I had yet to experience such generosity in the city, especially this act of sharing without the exchange of words, as it was merely a few words that made no sense to the foreign ear and several pointing fingers that had us seated, indulging in at a picnic in a park along the Bosphorus.
And in Lake Placid, just a ten minute drive up the lake on the Boston Whaler with the essentials for a night camping: graham crackers, marshmallows, Hershey’s chocolate, hotdogs – which I would consider mystery meat – and we were isolated from civilization. With only the sounds of birds and crickets, and the crackling of a radiant fire, words were needless and I came to see that what was all-important was the food and each other’s presence.