Incredible Okçular!

A Natural Antidote To Depression

Anemone coronaria red
Anemone coronaria

There’s no denying that at a personal level, the past two weeks have been bloody awful. J and I chose to live where we do for the beauty and semi-solitude of the location – discovering the bio-diversity and our delightful neighbours has been a real bonus. However, the last few months have seemed like Armageddon with great machines hacking away at our corner of paradise.

First it was Kara Göl or Black Lake, a seasonal area of shallow water just below our house that has been home to some very rare species of damselflies and dragonflies as well as a huge variety of more common fauna. There has been an attempt to drain this last vestige of a once mighty flood plain – I say ‘attempt’ because it looks as though it might have failed to achieve the purpose – I live in hope! In the process the machine ripped down mature trees and long established areas of undergrowth that were home to so much; what is left looks like the Somme on a bad hair day! The fact that the Somme lived to fight another day (and World War) gives me hope that Black Lake might do the same.

Cyclamen alpinum
Cyclamen alpinum

Then came a real body blow; having played a part in the villagers’ fight to stop Kocadere Valley from being turned into a quarry and cement works, we now have the nightmare of an army of great machines and trucks ripping the forest and mountainside to pieces 200 metres from our house! The ‘authorities’ are widening the death trap that constitutes the main road from Dalyan to Ortaca in a bid to weed out more of the stupid, macho prats who endeavour to kill themselves and others with their excessive speed!

J is far more pragmatic than me; pointing out how quickly stuff grows and the fact that we have been promised a ‘nature park’ to replace the real nature park that is now becoming a quarry! I take these things far more personally, having never got passed the infantile feeling that ‘I’m being picked on’ and consequently get ‘down in the dumps’ very quickly over such affronts. I know there’s no point, that it doesn’t make anything better or different, but pasting on a rather unconvincing smile doesn’t make the feeling go away either. Pathetic, really!

Gagea villosa
Gagea villosa


Today, J dragged me out for a walk to the ‘kale’ (castle) at the other end of the small tepe or hill where we live. The kale is what remains of a Neolithic fort that nobody else seems bothered about, so it is a perfect place to survey our ‘kingdom’ and take stock of life in general and the beauty of our surroundings (as long as I don’t look ‘over there’). The walk is not far and the track is littered with nature’s gemstones – flowers are everywhere!

Those who know me will remember my love of orchids and today ‘Toprakana’, Mother Earth, offered up a gift to lift my depressive state of mind. There, not 50 metres from our house were several dozen of the beautiful and very delicate Ophrys fusca the Sombre Bee Orchid. Thank you, Earth Goddess! Thank you!

Instead of pictures of destruction, here are pictures of life!


Ophrys fusca - Sombre Bee Orchid
Ophrys fusca - Sombre Bee Orchid




















Ophrys fusca - Sombre Bee Orchid

Ophrys fusca – Sombre Bee Orchid



Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü

21 thoughts on “A Natural Antidote To Depression

  1. We went through the same thing in 1995 when a mine was planned 100 meters behind our village. We all fought the developers and won and since that day, as a village we have always been very close knit. It was a horrible year to live through, we had gendarmes and guns and 6 young villagers in gaol for 6 weeks. – but we got through it. Keep smiling.
    We haven’t got any bee orchids yet, you must be a few weeks in front of us.

    1. Thanks Annie, we went through a big fight seven years ago for Kocadere and won that. This time around no one seems much bothered – the promise of a ‘nature park’ has them bamboozled! There are some great stories from the previous fight that can wait for another day – and Okcular is a great community.

  2. Oh, you have my full sympathy! I would be terribly depressed too in this situation. It must be galling to see this happen without a murmur after your successful campaign against the cement factory. I often hear people say ‘you must embrace change’. As if change were always good. When something is beautiful and untouched, why should we be glad to see it destroyed? But as your partner points out and the orchids show, there is hope. Local people here once set fire to a nature reserve, hoping to destroy the rare plants which made it such a special place. The flames had the opposite effect and increased biodiversity through regeneration. Taught them a lesson!
    I love the image of you standing at the Neolithic fort to admire the landscape – the other way.
    Bon courage.

    1. Hi Christine and thanks for the support. Daft to get so down about these things – and you and J are right, given time it will be taken back by nature. It may be different but that’s OK! 😀

  3. Alan — I am so sorry to hear about that construction and understand your blues. Your flower photos are beautiful though and putting me in a good mood. Thank you.

    1. sorry about the faffing about you’re having Jack – Akismet is flagging you up as spam and it’s beyond me at the moment. I’ll keep working at it and try and resolve it for you.

  4. Lovely flower pics! Often there is beauty among the destruction. Though there’s always plenty of construction projects going on here in Istanbul as well. Hang in there!

    1. Thanks Joy! First off, welcome to Archers. This lot really got to me; the invasion and destruction of the forest and our peace and quiet! Blitzkrieg effect!
      The wounds will heal in time. 😀

  5. Nature definitely puts me in a good mood, whenever I am depressed I will go walk at a nature trail somewhere nice so I can see nothing but trees, flowers and other beautiful scenery. Nice photos, I wish I had a good camera to capture some photos like that, those are beautiful flowers.

  6. Nice to hear from you Dennis, and welcome to Archers! We are blessed with a cornucopia of wonderful flower species and they always lift my spirits.

  7. I empathise completely, Alan. It is so utterly painful to watch such beautiful places being destroyed, even though J and some of the other commentators are right in saying nature has an amazing ability to repair herself, I find myself depressed, despairing and angry in equal measures. Maybe the only way is not to care too much but this is easier said than done. It’s like watching a dear, beautiful friend being appallingly abused and not being able to do anything about it. The photos are a wonderful reminder that not all is lost…

    1. . . the loss of the hoards of different dragonflies is very noticeable – it was one of those magical things that drew us here in the first place. As for the rest – it will heal after a fashion.

  8. Those who know me will remember my love of orchids and today ‘Toprakana thanks for share with us

  9. Thank you for this lovely post!
    Really brighten my day. For someone who is coping with Depression, i find stuff like this very helpful. Puts a smile to my face
    I came across this other site which had a lot of tips about Depression. i will share it for others

    Thanks again!

Comments are closed.