It was drizzling as he walked the streets of the beautiful Mediterranean town of Toroslar in Mersin province. His mind was on the new olive tree seedlings he had very recently planted in his garden. He was going home...
In that moment, he saw the colossal trunk of an old olive tree in front of “Sawmill R.”
He went closer. Still, he was not sure. He went even closer. He could not believe his eyes. It was a log weighing tons. It was from an ancient olive tree.
He thought the remains of this massive tree must have been centuries old. He also knew very well that the root and the juice of the olive tree would not dry up so easily.
Probably for that reason, the grape and the olive have been a sacred root for hundreds of years in Anatolian civilizations. The olive has been a branch that unified, that made peace between people and civilizations.
He thought for a moment. If he tried to stop the lumberman, that would not really work; the guy had paid for it, he would make wood out of it. This centuries-old root would become firewood and burn in a stove.
He made his decision. The best course of action was to call the mayor. The mayor was in a meeting. But he picked up the phone. He told him, “Mr. Mayor. A root of centuries old is about to disappear…” And he explained.
The mayor was quick to make an offer to the lumberman: “Listen, how many tons does this log weigh? You give us the log, and we will give you four tons of firewood.”
He answered, “Of course not, Mr. Mayor. If you want it, I don’t want any firewood. You take it. It’s my contribution. Take it…”
The historic root could only be lifted with a crane. It was transferred to a park. While it was being replanted, rain was pouring down on everybody, including the mayor.
During the initial inspection, the log was dated back to some 500 to 800 years ago. They had already planted some olive seedlings at the park and were waiting for them to grow. As a matter of fact, half of them had dried up.
Waiting for a centuries-old log to come back to life was like waiting for a miracle. The miracle would come from a log that had roots.
The municipality workers watered the log for months. They put up a shade to protect it from the sun. Days were passing and there was no sign of a miracle. The townspeople would start, at any moment, calling it “the memorial log.” But at the same time everybody was curious about the “miracle.” What if the tree revived?
Hopes were about to be shattered…
The person who first spotted the log walked past the park late one afternoon. Oh my God! He could not believe his eyes. In those parts of the log close to the ground were “beard-like green parts.” Was somebody playing a game? He looked closer. No, the tree was burgeoning. Life was coming out of the log. The wood found at the sawmill was reviving.
News got out fast. The mayor was applauding the hope born from a log they replanted months ago on a rainy evening, soaking wet.
The miracle had happened.
I called the mayor of Mersin’s Toroslar district, Hamit Tuna, the other day. I congratulated him with my best wishes, coming sincerely from my heart.
I told him, “Mr. Mayor, you have made such a miracle come true for those who cherish the environment, nature, peace and life. Well done…”
The olive tree has long been the symbol of peace for all civilizations in Anatolia.
For this reason, I want to consider this log coming back to life a miracle.
The olives from that tree are a sign. The olive branch from that tree is also a sign. In the name of all the Anatolian civilizations and cultures that have blossomed on these lands, I think of the olive branch this log has extended to us as “the miracle of peace.”
It is the sign for understanding each other; the sign for hearing each other. At a time when the dust of conspiracies, coups, betrayals, fights and ambushes has not settled yet; during an era when we are increasingly deaf to each other… Against the seed of hatred when hearts have become wooden and souls have become logs…
In this piece, I wanted to write about the olive branch miracle instead of political lobby activities in Ankara.
I congratulate Mayor Tuna, of course the person who first spotted the log, the lumberman who just gave the log to the municipality for free and the Toroslar people, who waited with patience and hope…
I also promised the mayor that I will be there for the harvest from this log, which came from 800 years ago.