The Sea Inside

September 23, 2010 § 2 Comments

That land is my genesis. I was born there… and I am always there even though I have been a wanderer. I cannot leave… How can I when a thousand sounds, sights, and smells tell me I am part of it?

–Ben Logan, The Land Remembers

In one of the most important texts in my life, The Land Remembers, a local author Ben Logan speaks of how you cannot ever fully leave your home, for it will forever be a part of who you are though you might move halfway around the world.  A long-forgotten taste, a salty sea breeze, or the familiar angle of the sun can all suddenly transport you to the place of your origin.

And so it is with me. The smells of nigella and cardamom, the sun dancing on the surface of water, the taste of persimmons, rare and precious here in Wisconsin, all take me back to my far-away home. But nothing gives me the pangs of nostalgia more than a seascape.


The above picture and every other picture in this post was taken by an extremely talented Azerbaijani event photographer Seymur Seyidbeyli – a friend of a friend, who had generously (very, very generously) agreed to let me use his work to illustrate this post about our shared home.


I remember these – half-abandoned Soviet-era oil fields on the outskirts of town, not far from public beaches.


When I was growing up, the landscape was dominated by the color palette of brown and blue – brown and yellow for the treeless hillsides and blue for the sea and the rainless sky. The arid desert, scourged by the blazing sun and heavy winds, had its own austere beauty. I miss it.


Sky reflected in the water of a puddle that holds what sure looks like toxic waste to me… But it is so evocative.



The Caspian Sea… We call it Khazar.


The gray light of snowless winters, the steely winter water…


And countless seagulls.

You can’t take the sea out of a girl.

I miss home.

Photos courtesy of Seymur Seyidbeyli. Many thanks to Seymur for letting me use his photos! I love the name and want to use it for my next son if I can get my husband to agree.

More posts about Azerbaijan:

The Land of Fire and its Food: Part I

The Land of Fire and its Food: Part II

Novruz Bayram

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