Füsun A.



Montréal, CANADA
January 12
Freelance Writer - jack of all genres;master of none.
warm and genuine
I divorced my full time career of teaching after 25 years, because meanwhile I fell in love with freelance writing. Ever since, I decided to legitimize my ten-year fling which started in the new millennium. Author of: "WILL OF MY OWN - A Memoir" Available at all major book outlets. For a preview please visit: http://www.dictionmatters.com/


FEBRUARY 2, 2012 10:12AM


Rate: 91 Flag


Last month my sister, the one who burned my screen top late last year, was in town and we spent another memorable day together. This time just with each other and our muses; not with laptops or ambiance candles. Warm, cardamom flavored chai replaced the gin and tonic while we compared our holidays. She was happy to have spent time with so much company, her in-laws, the boys, cousins and aunts and uncles, their friends – baking, entertaining, partying to their hearts' content.

“But I'm glad it's over, now I feel I'm tired.”

My holidays were the exact opposite, I told her, the second year I spent the big season of merriment alone. I did see my son and my daughter during the holidays and renewed our love and bonds – but not around a large family dinner. We nibbled on pistachios, pretzels, pomegranates and baklava, while listening to my son and daughter engage in animated discussions and laughter. I baked a Cornish hen with all the trimmings to enjoy with my son. We wanted no leftovers so even a chicken seemed too big just for the two of us when R spend Christmas with her beau's family, skiing up north in the Laurentians.

Then, I greeted the first moments of 2012 – alone.

What I take away from such occasions is mostly the peace I feel at how I've been adjusting to the absence of obligations, and the expectations they create in one's life. I also carry with me the snapshot of what I see nightly from the frosted glass window as I lock the outside door of my home. From December to the end of January every house on my street is adorned with colorful lights. I glance at my bay window framed by tiny red, blue, green, and yellow light bulbs, casting a lavender shade on the sage colored walls. I feel my heart smile and hear my lips say, “I like winter,” before I turn to follow my furry friend upstairs to sleep.

While he purrs in his velvety warmth and safety at the foot of my bed, I remember another furry love. Like so many pieces of my heart which I left behind, he's preserved in a memory bubble cherishing a point of my life. Life is a series of repeated cycles each of which ushers us further away from our beginning. When I started school, a lady had asked me my age. I remember replying that I was seven years old. Annecim corrected me by adding that I had “completed seven, wearing into my eighth year”. I remember feeling upset, cheated out of an age, and asking Annecim later why I couldn't just say I was seven? She explained that in fact I had already lived my seventh year by the time we celebrated my “seventh” birthday and I was going into my eighth year. I didn't really like her explanation – probably because it is the truth, and as we know, truth often stings.

I find it amusing now when I look back and remember that it was only years that I quibbled about when I was a child. In adulthood, wearing even into my third decade was painless when I turned twenty-one. When spring is at its glory, and we're beaming with promises, age-related issues don't have the same urgency. They often evade us lightly – like a dandelion seedpod wafts in the breeze.

The realization hit me when I turned forty, that most desirable age – an age considered to be the apex of a woman's beauty and maturity – that I was actually stepping right into the fifth decade of my life. Even at the peak of my glory, I was about to play on a stage to which I did not belong. When I was a child, I used to think forty was such a big number. I could not, for a long time, reconcile the concept of stepping into a half century, yet looking still young and vibrant. By then, I suspected the paradox of Time would herald each next decade faster, like the unexpected frost on the wine, leaving a noble rot on its over-ripened fruit.

I always liked autumn; it has been my favorite season of all so far. September, kissed by autumn's charm, was still innocent. Curious and indecisive, she followed her instinct into the fiery October. Their glory blazed, sparkled for a while and then dwindled. Passionate October was seduced by the cool, mysterious November.

There was a time when I hated winter. When memories of running between campuses in knee-deep snow or icy slush, or perhaps giving into the hopelessness of loving and losing on a winter's night return, I remember having a fondness for summer. Starkness underscored the hidden pains, and I must have looked only at the moon pining for some of its light as I felt for my way out of the dark. I'm learning that in order to move on, I need a lighter load.

I had a small epiphany one day, when I was watching “Grumpy Old Men” admiring the knitted winter hats worn by Ann-Margret and Daryl Hannah. The character of Walter Matthau is joyous when he catches his “damn beauty”, after years of pursuit, yet he can picture it only as a three-foot stuffed trophy on his wall – a display of his victory. Ann-Margret's character, Ariel, on the other hand objects vehemently.

There can be no stuffing! This is a live creature, full of life and courage!”

Sentimentality has been my Achilles' heel throughout my life. As I grew into a young girl, Annecim cautioned me to be more vigilant of my heart. I know she didn't want me to get hurt, but I pretended to be deaf. I pursued the catch and I caught what I pursued. In retrospect I realize that the real joy for me, too, has been in the release, because that is where living is. Going out on a limb, risking your heart, knowing love and tasting sorrow – it's all part of the yeast that goes into kneading the tender, yet sturdy and delicious dough that shapes one's own life. Catching, possessing, depleting the life source of another being does not bring happiness.

Lately, I have been loving winter with all its snow, ice, and breath sucking, flesh-numbing cold. Perhaps because I started looking around more and  seeing tufts of snow on dormant branches – a clear sky and millions of stars. I inhale frigid air and gather ice crystals in my palms into a snowball, then throw it up in the air. It brushes a pine branch, then on its descent cascades into infinite, sparkling tiny snowflakes. The sky is still filled with blinking stars. I covet the peace that surrounds me. And I accept winter into my life.  
I do.

How about you?

2012 eve

Photos and Text by Füsun Atalay


Füsun Atalay ~ Copyright © Will of my Own - 2012

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Sooner or later. . .
This is just so lovely, friend. It is a peace-inducer, honestly. r.
I just loved every word of this, every intention, every thought, every wisdom. I resonated with it as if it were my own. And like you, I'm learning to love winter. I'm learning to enjoy the breath, every precious moments of them. Thank you for this.
..."time passages..."

"grumpy old women..." Hah! Love that! So true! Feeling it!

"aging." "acceptance." That's an oxymoron.

Denial is slowly losing its grip.

Great post!
I hate winter. I hate snow. I hate cold. 35 years in warm climates make living in Germany a challenge. I love the "look" of snow and the initial cold and the coats and shoes and my hot pink hat with a heart bead on its little string hanging off the top knot.

I'm a year from not living with my daughter. I dread it. But...you make it sound resoundingly good and full of life even if it is different.

Love the progression of your piece. R
Words for the ages. I'm sure I will return and read this again and again. Thanks for sharing your wisdom!
January and February are tough months. We dig deep into who we are and you did it here with your usual sensual flare. I was thinking along similar lines lately when I wrote about doing too much. Life is so precious that no matter what is happening we need to reach for that calm center that winter shows us. The seed is there below the ground waiting to bloom into a rose.
I think I love the winter season because of the clean freshness of it all. You know it leads into another season full of sunlight and warmth.
Like our hearts.
Joyeux Hiver ma cher..
This was so beautiful. It's going to stay with me for a long time. Thank you.
See the new, special edition of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN on the concept of time.
You're such a great writer, Fusun. You fashion pictures with all your pretty adjectives, strung like the lights in your window. I know the Holiday alone - me too, all of them. But I love where I am now, as you, and it's just a time for me to say, well .. this lull is GIVEN to me. It is a time to retreat, assess, and prepare for the next activity that will surely come. Beautiful, thanks! R.
Beautifully written. Full and robust. It needs more than one reading.

I love the look of winter. Once I loved to walk on paths through the woods, wrapped on wool... hat, mittens and scarf. Now...I am afraid of snow and ice and so I live in a warm winter. I walk on grass and ride my bike instead of skis....but I do cherish the memories of my youth and those down hill days. Thanks Fusun.
This was so full of the wisdom which can only come from "being there".

I couldn't agree with you more about the real joy being in the release, it takes many different kinds of releases to find it. I rejoice with each new day because I have it. You my friend have it also.
Very nice piece. I have always loved the changes of the seasons, especially the day the first signs of changing over appeared. Winter in Chicago was brutal as I tried to navigate the elements to get to work and back in time to be a Mom for the evening. I learned to dread it. Now, in Atlanta, I have accepted what passes for winter here, probably because no matter what it serves up, it is but for a brief period of time.

This was wonderful and much of it seems that which I too can identify. I have acceptance and peace. These are gifts.
Sooner or later applies doesn't it? We live in a world that moves faster than our minds can comprehend. Time moves on without regard for our dreams and desires. Dreams and desires go one hounding us until the time is gone. There is no absolute peace or satisfaction, only the acceptance of the circumstances we must operate within.

I seem to have overdosed on platitudes today.
This is such beautiful and creative writing, Fusie, and so full of wisdom. You are one fine writer.
Beautiful, lush piece of writing, Fusun. I accept too.
Your writing and wisdom as always are right-on!
Sentimentality is dangerous stuff. I'm not sentimental at all but am an idealist, and that too is a recipe for unrelenting dissapointment.
This was full of great stuff, Fusun. Never knew that 40 was a good age. Thought it was terrible. I wish I'd read this before. Terrific, dear.
I loved reading this--I appreciate those who are sentimental, and all that it means. And that last paragraph...!
Cabin fever usually sets in with me about this time of year, but this winter hasn't been winter at all here in the mountains of East TN. Sixty yesterday, and possibly higher today. And -- I can take heart that there's no such thing as global warming.
J'accepte l'hiver aussi.
You are such an incredible person, FusunA! I sometimes re-read your words, because I am not sure I understood them -- most of the time, though, I re-read them for the way they brush across my mind's eye, each sentence replete with meaning, atmosphere and emotional tones that, like a complexly woven piece of music, must be repeated several times. Each time, the joy is greater, the beauty deeper and the sense of wholeness more complete.

What a wonderfully contemplative and emotively complex piece.

And in answer, Yes, I like winter, though must admit Fall is my favorite time of year. (And you can accept that at face value as well as the deeper and more human response you were asking.)

Winter and I have, after several long arguments about "necessity", agreed to disagree, and are no longer on speaking terms.
What a lovely meditation for this time of year!
This reads like silky hot chocolate in front of a crackling fire - you have such a way - I'm drifting along now.
As much as I love your description of Winter, I remain a child of Summer. The Summer is when my blood pumps fast and the forest calls me to ride among its canopy of trees. For me, riding is the same as living.
I have always loved winter. Growing up, going outside on a calm night, moon making the snow covered fields sparkle...the wind seems to take on a different character on nights like that: warms the heart, even when it's cold.

"I covet the peace around me"---yeah, that's what I'm talking about--but you said it so much better. Lovely writing...
"Sentimentality has been my Achilles' heel..." That is why we like you so much. Excellent piece; lovely as wise. R
You know it's a funny thing but I am also enjoying winter this year. Maybe we're just getting older and learning to accept and love each season because you never know how many are left. This was lovely. -R-
The many, many fresh turns of phrase here are mesmerizing, Fusun.
Within their beauty lie many, many positive messages....Rated with admiration.
You do this all the time. Pure genius and brilliant expression. R and hugs.
I am entering the winter of my life, ahead of you A. And right now, grateful for every moment and the wisdom I have earned, The touching wrinkles some would consider old, but others would consider more preciously beautiful than youth. Every day matters, every moment, even the smallest breath is precious.
And I too have spent many years alone, but you never know. You may yet find great love, as well.
I am working on it all Fusun, one day at a time! Lovely piece of writing.
Beutifully written. It is so full of appreciation for each season, each phase of our lives. I've become impatient of winter in recent years thinking of it as a time of hibernation. This gives me a fresh, joyful new vantage. R
Quite lovely. Many, many years ago my family visited my grandparents in Florida over Christmas and New Year. On New Year's Eve I stood outside at midnight very comfortable wearing a short sleeved shirt. I realized that I didn't need snow in my life.
Though I made snowballs on a mountaintop in the Andes I've never experienced winter...it's still a dream of mine. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Love the paragraph about turning 40, Fusun. I'm glad you're enjoying winter but here in Southern Ontario we've only really had a few days of it. I shouldn't speak too soon, though ...
Lovely thoughts for what is truly a beautiful and thoughtful time of year. Starting my fourth decade... yikes!!! (r)
Life is so much more Fusun.
I love this piece..You are a deep thinker indeed.
I am working towards acceptance of winter. Reading these beautiful and authentic words gives me the feeling that I should relax a little and appreciate its beauty more. I am happy that you were not so vigilant with your heart that you were not open to love. I have lived with my heart in the lead and although there was pain there was also the kind of amazing love that you so clearly have.
rated with love
I'm still excited by spring, and love summer in all of it's lushness.Fall and winter make me sad because there is no life present. I still feel that way about my aging, as well. I am entering fall, and not ready for it.

You do make winter sound peaceful.
Dear friend this was an absolute joy to read.
I too have grown more accepting.
Even winter isn’t all that bad these days.
Lovely lovely. I am glad to be basking in the glow of your sentimentality, and I send you some sun rays to illuminate your cold days with sparkle. Love, acceptance, love again, it keeps us kneading more than needing.

And I particularly love: "Going out on a limb, risking your heart, knowing love and tasting sorrow – it's all part of the yeast that goes into kneading the tender, yet sturdy and delicious dough that shapes one's own life. Catching, possessing, depleting the life source of another being does not bring happiness."
So gorgeous, this piece. It brings many wonderful images together in perfect reflection of their meaning. Well done.

This did challenge me to savor a favorite winter memory from many moons ago. I guess I have known wonder in winter.
What a beautifully written piece Fusun, conveying much more than it explicitly states. Not being given to introspection, or maybe self-reflection is a better term, I don't actually have thoughts like that but I can easily understand the sentiment (attitude? disposition? paging Mr. Webster!) at work. Insofar as contemplating my own winter years, I tend to the Scarlett O'Hara "I'll think about that tomorrow" approach. Nicely done.
This is wonderful. I love your conclusion. I have done and thought just that.
This passage touches me so much: "the real joy for me, too, has been in the release, because that is where living is." Yes. It has taken me many, many years to really begin to absorb the deep truth of that.
*I covet the peace that surrounds me.*

Much of the best writing ivefound on the interwebs andive actually havehad the op to wrk on the Osbornes computers when in the cracker-jacks was it not '84 but close as the cold floor beneath yesterdays sock-it-to-mes covered in decades old *woolen* skating socks. I adorn the way you do omit the mucus and sting of frostbite tempuratures, dem blue eyes crying afore the rain freezes, pelts stings the merciless labyrinthine near-tunnel like extravaganza of Mr & Mrs cosmos taking what it wants regardless of our thoughts + prayer.
Go on now, one crisp apple of twenty-thousand leagues before the
rot of spring illuminates despair. Marching, now crawling now frozen as death. Rejoice!

I wanna play baseball!

*I covet the peace that surrounds me.*

Much of the best writing ivefound on the interwebs andive actually havehad the op to wrk on the Osbornes computers when in the cracker-jacks was it not '84 but close as the cold floor beneath yesterdays sock-it-to-mes covered in decades old *woolen* skating socks. I adorE the way you do omit the mucus and sting of frostbite tempuratures, dem blue eyes crying afore the rain freezes, pelts stings the merciless labyrinthine near-tunnel like extravaganza of Mr & Mrs cosmos taking what it wants regardless of our thoughts + prayer.
Go on now, one crisp apple of twenty-thousand leagues before the
rot of spring illuminates despair. Marching, now crawling now frozen as death. Rejoice!

I wanna play baseball!

I loathe winter...and anything cold. But this post warmed my heart.
You captured this so beautifully, the sweetness of growing older. The young don't understand, but they will when their turn arrives. Right now, it is our time to enjoy those wintery moments you describe, and relish the skills we worked for forty years to acquire, all the more precious, knowing we will have to let them go. Not now though ;-)
Winter can bring a wonderful sense of peace.
a wise and beautiful post!
Nice. There has been no winter here, today it is sunny and int he 60s.
Agree with Greenheron. This is definately not about winter or snow.
Beautiful writing.
Acceptance is the beginning of cleansing your soul and what better way than by that beautiful fire! Rated with an Ila smile of course. :-)
Lovely ... your thoughts of winter warmth ...
The sky is still filled with blinking stars.

Each one a twinkling light to the future.

Each one to be wished upon as hopes and dreams fill our heads and our hearts.

Each one there, to be looked upon, as we feel peace fill us ... body and soul.

Beautiful, Fusun. Much love and peace always, my dear, dear friend.
Winter of artifice. r
I can relate to so much in this, Fusun but this especially rings true:

"I'm learning that in order to move on, I need a lighter load."

I also like picturing you at your window, saying "I like winter."
Lovely, and I do. Rated!
You're very philosophical and mature, and I'm happy for you that you've accepted the winter in your life. I hate winter but like the fact that spring follows. From what I've seen of the winters of lives, I'm not interested. . . .
Steely Dan's "Bohdisattva" plays in my mind, especially when I read: "Going out on a limb, risking your heart, knowing love and tasting sorrow"...lovely, evocative piece you have written here.
I think I need to accept winter into my life. I like your philosophy.
I have a mixed response to winter. I enjoy playing in snow, but I hate to shovel my sidewalk. I like the warmth provided by thermal underwear, but I resent the extra laundry. The beauty of spring and fall come without price. Winter has its price.

John Dunne said: "Affliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath enough of it."
Now I really long for winter. I just can't make peace with year-round humidity and heat. The soul needs to take some deep breaths of pure cold, and I haven't had that yet this season!
As you state under "Company": "warm and genuine" ~ so settles this piece. I suddenly feel the need to throw a log in the fireplace so I can snuggle on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa (oh, yeah and whipped cream) and watch the flames flicker in the darkness of my *den* while my thoughts graze through a cache memories.

Did I mention it's sunny and nearly 60 here today? Such is the strength and grace of your prose.

sooner or later...true.

sooner doesn't suit me, though. later, much later....much much much. (maybe never)

I feel your gentle acceptance, even while you protest.

me...I make a lot of noise about it, about this growing old business. I don't care much for it. and while I love the look of winter, one step out into a 20 degree day (or night...worse! much worse!) and I'm whining like a child.

I'm a miserable old dame. my grandchildren laugh at me. ;)
Just when I think I know you pretty well from reading your writings....MORE insights!
Fusun, two things I hope for after reading this: (1) To reach such a place in my own life; and (2) To be able to write about with such beauty and grace.
Thank you for sharing your lyrical writing, Fusun! This is so beautiful.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful insight.
Beautiful, as always! I love what you say about woman at 40--that she's at the peak of her beauty and maturity--such an endearing combination. Thanks for this!!
Stunning piece. This is the age I am, and with each age come joys and sorrows, sacrifices and luxuries. I'm enjoying the luxury of doing less and enjoying it more. Thanks for reminding me so beautifully.
While I am not a person who would like to live in a snow region, your post was beautifully worded and I can appreciate the seasonal changes we do not have here.
I'm more of the j'accuse type myself. This seems a bit on the sentimental-sappy side too. "I covet the peace that surrounds me." Really? Really??

-R- (for the effort)
What a beautiful reflection. Thank you for putting your heart "out there" and infusing my winter day with the wisdom of someone who has lived life, and accepts herself and where she is at the moment.
my winter has been a mild one so far...but I've always been one to love a good storm. This was wonderful. Thank you, Fusun!
Beautiful--from one who knows about winter; the kind we aren't having this year and the one that settles into our hearts. Especially: I covet the peace that surrounds me.
I agree with all you write here FusunA. Thank you.
My sincere thanks to everyone of you who visited my post and commented here. Reading your thoughts and feedback is more fascinating to me. ♥
Such a lovely post. You are at peace with yourself. We are all alone - I believe - and it takes strength of mind accepting that. You show that in your piece.
Oh Fusun...you did it again. Reached right in and grabbed the essence of winter, and birthdays, and family. I LOVE winter for exactly the reasons you describe and wonder if it has anything to do with being a Florida girl. Winter truly is a wonderland to me. When I was in my 3rd decade, as you so aptly pointed out, I experienced 'real' snow. The several feet deep, powdery kind that made me pick it up and toss it by handfuls into the air. A friend caught that joy on camera and somewhere there is a photo... (but as you mentioned in the story of your sister and the melted computer, the exact pic you are looking for can be hard to locate sometimes). Thanks for reminding me about it though. A little lift for me today.
I had to stop reading for a bit until I got my tears under control. I read about your beloved Selim and his love for you touched a chord.
I'm not the hugest fan of winter when I am shovelling snow, but when I'm looking out a window at the crisp, laciness of snow covered trees or going for a walk and am bundled up against the cold, then I do enjoy winter.
Well, ok, you make accepting my age sound so positive I just might have to do so! Lovely, lovely piece.
ooo, Fusun,
I missed this one. So glad I circled back. A loving and lovely post, in a warm, chilly sort of way.

I believe we're the same vintage, give or take.

Rambling here to say that summer is still my favorite season; though it wouldn't be nearly so splendid without winter in the balance. There's nothing quite so fine as those February skies -- that cold clear air, the first sight of a plump robin braving the branches of a snow topped evergreen. . . anti-aging (as gracefully and gratefully as possible) out here in the wilds of Michigan.
I had missed this one!

We all used to have so much more freedom of expression online and elsewhere. We are free to try, yet we seem to flounder.

And I also feel we need a break from all the consequences of poor decidion making past and present....

Peace to you