Room at the attic

Summers of my childhood were sometimes spent in the big countryside manor of my grandparents. Uncles and aunts, cousins and rooms more than we could count. Days followed days in the way they only do for a child. We excavated the dungeons of the basement, climbed the apple trees and went bathing when we could.

We were always given a different room when we came. Sometimes it was the blue room at the end of the corridor at other times I slept alone in the chamber behind the kitchen, but nothing could compare to the extra room in the attic where my uncle had to fix a rope ladder to be used as an emergency exit.

To get the that room you had to cross a vast dark attic filled with dolls with staring eyes, old books, my grandparents clothes and a scent of pine and dust. In summer the planks were warm and smooth against my warm feet as I crossed the open attic running to the the room. When I closed the door I was safe from the voices of the house, perched alone in the cabin of a ship I could dive into the adventures of the Famous Five. Ever since these summers, I have a recurring dream that I live in a house where rooms follow room to be excavated, searching for the safety of a hidden chamber where I could be alone with my books.

cumulus’ shadow —
willow warbler grows silent
for the first raindrop

Gamla slottet by Prins Eugen

I’m getting back slowly to writing with Lilian’s prompt on an old room from my past at dVerse Haibun Monday.

28 responses to “Room at the attic

  1. Wonderful to read a bit about your childhood here – and you did indeed take us into that special interior place with wondrous details.

    The traditional haiku part of the haibun is superb! Just lovely❤️

  2. When I lived in Cologne, I had a flat in an attic, which was near a railway line and everything rocked when trains went past.Grandparents’ houses seem to make huge impressions on us. I love the sense of family and freedom your haibun conveys, and the way you describe summer in ‘Days followed days in the way they only do for a child’. And how exciting to have a rope ladder for emergencies!
    I’m pleased that there were books in the attic and that it was like a ship’s cabin, but I couldn’t have crossed an attic with dolls with staring eyes!

  3. I know of other writers who had the same tendency to rather hide as far away as possible from the teeming house so to go read a book. To brave such a dash across an attic filled with all sorts of things that can scare a child must’ve been something. Shows how badly you needed the solitude!

  4. A wonderful story Bjorn. You pictured it well. Amazing how the birds dive for cover of the leaves when the first sprinkles hit the roof!

  5. Attis and basements have always been my favorite hang-outs as a child. In one house ( we moved every year ) I had an attic bedroom; had to stand in the middle so as not to bump your head. When I was “sent to my room”, like you, I read books and loved the solitude.

  6. Your writing is wonderful. You transport us live to your childhood home. I feel as though I’m there in the attic pirate ship. It is amazing how little it takes to fascinate children, (well, it used to). Thanks for a great trip in time

  7. I can SEE that spooky attic, the trip across, to the safety of the room beyond………yikes, scary! Summer in childhood always means summer at my grandparents’ to me. I spent every childhood summer with them.

  8. Your tale of the attic is marvelous. I love the details but most of all, I love the beautiful haiku at the end. How magical to be a child back then.

  9. Lovely descriptions, Björn. The dolls would have terrified me, but the room itself sounds comforting. I had an attic bedroom when I was a teenager. It was a refuge for sure.
    Interesting about your recurrent dreams.

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