Saturday I had every intention of doing homework, sleeping in, and generally being a louse. Even when Jackie posted in the Facebook group saying she was planning to go a waterfall at noon, I still had every intention of doing absolutely nothing of import and disregarded it.
At 12:08 I poked my head out of my door to see if Arnela or Frank were in their rooms (our key cards indicate our availability by activating color-coded lights on the outside of our doors), and a pajama-ed Kristina was greeted by Frank poking his head out from the elevator shaft.
“You’re coming, right?”
At which point I realized that homework and sleep can wait, that I’m only in Bosnia once, and that I should follow Alice’s advice to dream up five impossible things before breakfast- because, I reminded myself, it’s a sign of imagination regression when I begin to forget how impossible the existence of things like mountains and waterfalls and rainbows in this world actually is.
“Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking-stick.”
Thus philosophized, I skipped a shower, threw on the nearest clothes I could find, and joined the group downstairs.
We took a tram ride into the city and a cab beyond that, splitting up into two groups and hoping to end at the same place (it might seem obvious that that be the outcome, but one time, when I was in South Korea, I handed two taxi drivers identical pieces of paper with identical addresses written on them by the Korean desk assistant. Both taxis left at the same time with the same information but ended up in two entirely separate places).
Maggie and I arrived first, far above the city of Sarajevo, the war, and all reminders of modernity.
I’ve mentioned it before, but I love mountains almost more than anything else. If I could live in a glass library on a mountain, surrounded by fields of lavender with hammocks and roses and butterflies and everyone that I love, forgotten by the world and forgetting the world, I would.
Since that isn’t possible, however, and those that I love could not be with me, I’ll take you on my journey this way.
Maggie and I started walking upward, unsure if the others had been dropped off before us and were located higher, or if they simply hadn’t arrived yet.
The hills behind us rolled silently into each other like a green tsunami, or perhaps just the afternoon mountain tide (little human specks of sand).
If you peek into the middle, you can see all of Sarajevo, nestled neatly in the valley.
To reassure everyone- this wasn’t smog (and believe me, my time in South Korea taught me what real smog is).
After about ten minutes of walking, the others arrived and we formally began our adventure.
Soon, we had our last glimpse of gravel pathway:
And were left to traipse this poem of a road.
In a moment I had stepped from Conflict-Defined-Sarajevo into Tolkien-Meets-Avonlea-Middle-Earth.
And it was wonderful.
Flowers of every kind blanketed the sides of the pathway, and I picked one of each to put in my hair because nothing makes you feel more like a fairy than a flower crown, and I’ve made it my goal in life to feel like a fairy as often as is possible.
Sometimes I pretend that flowers are little fairies sleeping, and the petals are their petticoats.
And sometimes I just like to imagine a world where humans have flowers for hair, and showers are large watering-cans turned upside-down (in my fairy world no one’s hairgarden ever experiences drought).
(Can you imagine a giant’s hammock swung between two mountains, groaning every time he snored?)
I’m certain that Nature crocheted these lace doilies for her dowry when she was married to Time.
Then I met an Ent- certainly one who fell asleep after the migration of the Entettes- who had fallen asleep, I imagine, hugging what was left of his world.
I had an urge to cuddle up in his arms.
(Do you see the care in his face as he caresses his fate?)
I once had an argument with Ashley and Daniel at the high-school lunchtable that dandelions weren’t weeds at all, but Wishes waiting to be wished. (I still hold true to this theory. It’s a much more beautiful world if you imagine fields filled with Wishes instead of the insidious “weed” that must be “eliminated.” Who wants the genocide of Wishes, after all?)
And that quite filled my heart with happy.
All of a sudden we traipsed across this house, which, as Frank put it and I can’t word it better, “…made you feel as if you’d woken up and eaten breakfast in the wrong place.”
He was building a stone lodging by hand, and when we came home later he was grilling meat with his friends under the mountainsky. We, however, met him while tending his bees.
We passed him by, all thinking (in our own words) that we indeed had woken up and eaten breakfast entirely in the wrong place.
Sometimes it was so steep you couldn’t help but run down the hills. After nearly an hour of traipsing upwards, we began to descend into the belly of the Dinaric Alps.
Occasionally there were handrails to help; very often there were not.
Counter-intuitively, sometimes we went up to go down.
Mostly, though, we just went down.
O sweet spontaneous
earth how often have
prurient philosophers pinched
, has the naughty thumb
of science prodded
often have religions taken
thee upon their scraggy knees
buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive
to the incomparable
couch of death thy
them only with
Mikal, this one is for you and me.
And, finally, we reached the falls, which I’ll leave you a glimpse of before I leave for today: