The Flash

The Flash - train to Selcuk

He takes a shortcut through the park in torrential rain, passing the deserted lake of amusement with its awkward swan pedal boats tethered lifeless at the edge. Now the animation comes from the heavy drops falling, splash, pound and ripple. Momentarily sheltering under the awning of a windowless building he hears the distinctive sounds of thumping, thrashing and children’s voices emanating from deep inside. This is made additionally sinister by the accompaniment of the heavy rain, creating a spatial cacophony where sound and action are synchronised and shaken.

Basmane is a quiet terminus where a few tracks end, wind up, four platforms with a roof and frontage designed in 1864 by the English architect John Turtle Wood, clasping his wife’s maiden name (Turtle) inside his to create some distinction that pleased them both. A few years later their Turkish adventure takes them to Ephesus and the great discovery. There is a shocking newness of the train to Selçuk, and of the embankments and platforms that line the route. This journey takes an hour and costs less than his coffee at the Etiler Mahallesi.This is the start of it. The sudden flash of flat surface across the window of the train. This grey matter is fresh, smooth and hinting at modernity in its embrace of construction techniques from the cities and highways of the west, now long absorbed and eclipsed by the relentless mega-constructions of the east. Yes, he remembers, China used more concrete in three years than the USA during the entire 20th century. Compacted from sea beings with shells to make the compound that is so essential, with the name that sticks in the cold chemistry classroom and in the cement mix, calcium carbonate, not grey but white.

The destination is Ephesus, birthplace of Heraclitus, inspirational ancient Greek and first philosopher to go beyond the material towards process and becoming. He’s come to find him.

basmane-train-station-izmir-turkey