The Hill

a forestbather in ukraine
2 min readJun 21, 2016

Under a brooding sky before the rainbow came out to play, we shared a path with a few scattered raindrops that melted quickly into the warm concrete, perfuming the path with freshness, on our quest up the narrow steep lane. But we were not exploring, and not on a pilgrimage, for walking creates friendship, and the conversation poured like wine does on a free sunny day.

My walking companion is Mea, from Holland and she has a cheetah’s grace that runs free .

We reached a small church on a hill, and in the view watched streetlights flicker on like fireflies in the distance, while the horizon turned amber. In the ruins of a castle down across the valley, a choir sang “Hallelujah” in an elaborate pink and blue lightshow, near a cave called Hell’s Gate, while we sat near a stark statue of Jesus that stood silhouetted like a zombie from a far-flung land.

The devil let the droning concert finish, and Mea tempted fate by quickly tugging shoes and socks off and balancing on one foot on sharp stone in gymnastic poses, framed by a magnificent rainbow, also in pinks and deep blues.

And I remembered true conversation is an art, and that the closer one is to the top of a mountain, the better the friendship is.

We shared a bottle of Tokaj wine while still perched on the rough stone, opposite the hilltop, with its radiotower sending messages from around the world we did not care to hear.

We ended the evening chuckling outside Hell’s Gate, and on the way to Pécs coach station the next morning, we composed a haiku just for the hell of it:

a slow horizon—
I pick up one pebble
sun’s warmth in my palm