An old woman’s blessing


The day we started our walk the peaks were still covered with snow. Áhkká, the old woman, had let her silver hair loose to meet the summer breeze, returning after weeks hiding behind her veil of clouds. The sun made our packs feel lighter, and the trail was smooth. “This is how every walk should start”, your eyes were alpine gentian, the blue of lakes and heaven, and still the smell of rain remained.

The walk took us to the heart of Sarek, a roadless land, were reindeer graze and glaciers feed the streams with rapid moving crystals: adorning mountainsides with silver necklaces. Through valleys licked by sun, on paths across the emerald of grass. Afterwards we thanked the old woman who graced us with such days of summer that we never met before.

ice-crowned mountain-peaks
ease the pilgrim’s heavy pack –
hymns of melting ice


Mount Akka

Mount Akka

Today we premiere our new monthly feature, Haibun Monday on dVerse. We have a guest prompter to help us out. The haibun should consist of a brief concise piece of prose relating to nature. My story goes back to the summer of 2013 when we had the unique experience of 9 consecutive days of brilliant weather in our most famous National Park, Sarek in the north of Sweden. We have walked there before, but normally you would have several days of rain and even snow, maybe it was all because of Áhkká.

September 7, 2015

37 responses to “An old woman’s blessing

  1. It is almost like you are caught between seasons there. I bet the cool breathe off the mountains kept it a rather enjoyable hike. I love those places, far from roads and clutter where nature still reigns. It can be quite beautiful.

  2. Such a pristine and lovely view of the mountains and valleys Bjorn ~ You are blessed indeed and I love the haibu line, hymns of melting ice ~

  3. Your prose is laced with delicious adjectives & stirring images, placing us right there beside you. Here in WA state, neath several volcanic peaks, we adorn the mountains with the male gender, old wise men, shaman, wizards, lords. Loved your piece; grand haiku for a capper.

  4. Steps of Mountain traveling pack
    Rams hold true in sideways walk..
    Humans stick to sidewalks way..
    falling down.. to science move
    in cold dead feet.. moves one way..

    Bootcamp Lives..
    outside Now’s
    Sidewalk Stuck..:)

  5. What a beautiful piece of writing. I enjoyed it very much. How wonderful to see a new haibun challenge. I will joinin with great pleasure. Thank you.

  6. How I long to see that unearthly blue! I read this and then closed me eyes and breathed in that intoxicating air, the cool breeze, the beauty of the old woman. Beautiful and stripped of artifice, just showing her true self to the world.

  7. You packed so much into this – yet kept it eminently readable. That glorious moment evoked, at the start of a hike, with ”live” mythology and crytal clear surroundings. A delight to read and emphasise with.

  8. What a beautiful and serene scene you have painted here. It made me smile as I think of the backpacking trip my husband is planning. He will enjoy such a hike with his brothers. I will think back on this while he is gone. Peace, Linda

  9. I appreciated you taken me at such beauty, magic place… ‘were reindeer graze and glaciers feed the streams with rapid moving crystals: ‘ ~ was my fave line. A very poetical haibun.

  10. Wow, a nature hike to remember…..precise and lovely words for the climb..especially like the smell of rain and the juxtaposition of summer and winter climes experienced on the same hike.

  11. Your haibun stirs longing to hike the path and hum the hymn…i like how the strong, beautiful mountain is personified as an old woman.

  12. Beautiful writing. I love the way the identity of the old woman was only gradually revealed (to those of us who didn’t know already).

  13. The tenderness and adoration in this, ” “This is how every walk should start”, your eyes were alpine gentian, the blue of lakes and heaven, and still the smell of rain remained.” the sound play in rain/remained! Beautiful!!

    Your colr descriptions and visions of nature are awe inspiring…the magic quality of the old woman and the genuine gratitude to her fill my heart…happiness and longing.

    I love the way you contrast in your haiku…the closing with sound after such a visual experience.

    This sounds like nine heavenly days. 🙂

    So wonderful!

  14. It would be amazing to see reindeer grazing. What a beautiful scene you have shared with us. I like “through valleys licked by sun, on paths across the emerald of grass.” and your haiku is wonderful.
    I am very happy about Haibun Mondays! 🙂

  15. I love the idea of the old woman with icy white hair. Perhaps because I too am turning into a snowy haired lady 🙂 Is it typical for a haibun to crystallize a moment like you have here? I find them very satisfying and interesting, also a bit of a contrast, the long words in prose capped by a short haiku. Sounds like you had a glorious time in Sarek, Bjorn. Thank you for sharing it with us!!

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