Constant In Opal


Me and the puzzled travellers

We searched the ground for wealth

And scoured the dreaming valleys

On days where shadows melt

Digging for the blue and the green

Constant in opal or ultramarine

If you could only find yourself that way…

Steve Kilbey, The Church

It’s a lovely fall day on the Bosphorus. Sunny with a scattering of cloud, and the water heaving with steady chop. Asia’s over there, just a short ride away. And the straits are clogged with ships bearing every possible shade of rust.

Today the shipping is modern, but I could have sworn I heard Jason and his Argonauts paddle through in search of the Golden Fleece. Or perhaps I just drank too much Turkish coffee…

I landed a couple hours ago, after a short flight over the paradise isles of the Ionian Sea, the rugged mountain spine of Albania, and an Aegean sadly shrouded in cloud. It feels like a good time to get lost in narrow alleys and winding bazaar aisles. But I wanted to share a few quick snapshots with you before I go…

Strange shapes pulse beneath these Bosphorus swells…
Europe over here, Asia over there, and the Black Sea full ahead. Strange straits…?
Constant in opal…
My palace by the sea?
Enjoying a quiet read in my room…
…until an intrusive call on the bananaphone shattered my silence.

Perhaps these streets will teach me the meaning behind these final cryptic lines of the song.

Thinking of all that I left behind

Down in the shaft when my mind was blind

But you couldn’t even find yourself that way

Or perhaps I’ll generate a meaning of my own…

About the author

Ryan Murdock

Author of A Sunny Place for Shady People and Vagabond Dreams: Road Wisdom from Central America. Host of Personal Landscapes podcast. Editor-at-Large (Europe) for Canada's Outpost magazine. Writer at The Shift. Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

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