The Magic of Attics


I can never forget the ambiance of the attics.
When the fall colors covered the hills,
surrounding our village in the Jizera mountains,
and hay harvest came to an end,
we ran into an apple orchard to climb the trees,
and pick the sweetest rubies,
finishing the evening under the roof,
jumping into haystacks,
telling tales while snacking on our potpourri,
and fresh milk from a local farm,
still hot in our flasks.
Then we built ourselves mini shelters,
using old wood logs and hay,
insisting to bring our blankets over,
for a sleepover with more friends from the village.

Our scouting winter lodge held many adventures.
The hike up the mountain would be vigorous.
Some of us carried backpacks twice our size,
with snow up to our knees,
falling on our backs at times,
to the friendly laughter of older boy scouts.
We were the “promising young sherpas”.
They each had their nicknames.
I was helped by “Quickfoot”,
from my favorite Foglar books and comics,
about the boy club named “Fast Arrows”.
Once we reached the lodge,
we opened our sleeping bags in the attic.
At night we told scary tales,
of sticky and devouring green blob of disease,
floating everywhere to catch its prey,
or bloody hand, and ghosts in the woods,
all huddled next to each other,
throwing our flashlights around,
to find our night snacks in our backpacks,
listening to the whistle of winter outside,
and the occasional case of the sound of wildlife on a hunt.
The next night we had to complete a walk of bravery,
by following a trail light with candles on the side,
and spooky sounds of our brothers,
pretending to be those ghosts,
I wished I didn’t listen to those tales from the attic.
At the end of the trial, we had to sign a paper to prove our presence,
and we got to uncover a secret message from our leaders.

In my grandma’s attic mind goes wild and fairies exist.
Across the top of a large elementary school,
with long stairs to the top,
hiding all sorts of artifacts.
It was the perfect place for enchanted wonder.
I spent hours there,
looking for a treasure of any kind:
old books, letters, b&w photographs,
dance outfits, colorful buttons, cuff links,
grandpa’s vintage watch and hats,
or mother’s school supplies.
When it rained my grandma climbed up there,
and looking for long-lost items full of memories,
to the sound of raindrops hitting the roof above.
I listened to her stories from her youth,
or made-up tales about fairies living inside large rocks,
rocks that opened full of bright light at night,
and the fairies came out to dance in the woods,
where soft small grasslands grew with wild blueberries,
and you could lay there without a sound,
except for pine trees squeaking as they moved with the wind,
mystical calls of the nocturnal owls,
or deer and rabbit steps wandering close by.
Then the fairies started to sing.
It reminded me of Rusalka by Dvorak.
She said my mother visited the fairies as a child,
riding a white horse,
wearing a purple dress with a light veil,
and a small pouch necklace made of gemstones
– a piece of treasure I just found in the attic.
Later I found out the outfit was from her dance ball,
and the pouch was a gift from her first love.
My grandma’s fairytale stories were always new,
Created on the spot,
Stories that have not been told before.
With raindrops hitting the roof and vintage treasures around,
They were always real to me.

Dried mushrooms and herbs –
another purpose of grandma’s attic.
I remember damp mornings of wandering around the woods,
picking up boletuses and marjoram for the best soups in town,
or lemon balm and valerian for teas.
I didn’t know much about coca-cola in the 80s and 90s,
But I knew tea recipes from great grandmother –
ones that were used to treat others in her small village,
much appreciated aid during both world wars.
Preferring sugar-less holistic remedy above pills any day,
as a child, I wanted to spit it out,
envious of kids glugging Fantas.
Now I am resuming her remedies,
and returning to herbal teas,
with herbs and spices from the attics of Nepal.

In the town of Hejnice, we had an attic full of mysterious energy.
I used to climb up there to hang up our laundry to dry,
looking through the pieces of clothes,
getting spooked that someone could be hiding in the dark corners,
watching me sing to myself,
or pretending to be some fictional character.
When done, I used it as my spot to read books,
engaging in a new adventure every time.
On other days I came up to play with my childhood love,
resulting in some of our first kisses,
and dreaming of our future together.
Some mornings I was looking for creatures I dreamt of the night before.
Somehow I thought they would be hiding in the attic.
The smell of the wood added to the scales of my imagination,
and I believed their memory could become a reality one day,
knowing that they will live forever in my mind,
a mind that hardly worried about the present or past,
yet always wondered what will come next,
what will come out of that spooky mysterious corner,
“What did I do? Is it me over there? What did I do?”
Some questions just remain unanswered.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s