5.11.2010

Heartache and Beauty: A Bosnian Tale

After our hair-raising adventure just over the border into Bosnia, we were delighted to find our road emerge into gentle, rolling hills, some smooth with closely nibbled pasture, others carpeted with thick forests. I was glued to my window, scarcely wanting to blink lest I miss some beauty of this amazing country.

I delighted in the dome-shaped haystacks, shepherds prodding their sheep, children romping in the grass with their dog. I wanted to pull over at every home, magically be able to speak Bosnian, and sit and talk for hours learning about their family and national history. But I couldn't. All I could do was smile, wave at cute little kids strolling along the highway with sticks over their shoulders, and grin at the dapper old men taking the air in flannel trousers, blazers and hats.

My heart lurched as I saw hillsides covered, absolutely covered in headstones, both Muslim and Christian, women clad in black carrying armloads of flowers. I know every town has a cemetery, but usually the stones are old, covered in lichen, almost hidden by grass, a few new ones noticeable by their glossy marble and fresh flowers.

But not here. Here they gleamed, almost has if they had been erected yesterday. Row upon row of white crosses and black marble pillars. Hundreds of them in tiny mountain towns. My heart ached for the intensity of their loss.



Even as I soberly reflected on the devastation war has wrought on this place, we turned a corner and my heart again lurched, but this time for joy. A jewel of a lake tucked between forested hills, glistening and still, exquisitely reflecting everything around it. We pulled over and just stood there, staring, drinking in the peaceful beautiful of this unexpected place. After a bit some of us clambered down the bank, squelching our way through marshy grasses accompanied by the deafening chorus of thousands of frogs singing their hearts out. We couldn't see them, but we heard them, and smiled. :-)




31 comments:

  1. The photos are absolutely beautiful! The tale is indeed heartwrenching but think of all of this calm beauty taking the place of, growing out of, the pain, sorrow and tumult. Sadly, man will never stop waging war against man, but how wonderful that we can travel through places like this and feel all the history, all the life that remains.

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  2. It's hard to imagine so much darkness in such a beautiful place. I honestly had no idea how gorgeous Bosnia is! The lake photos could be right out of the Mists of Avalon.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences. :)

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  3. Lovely. So real, I felt as if I had been there. Feeling the air, hearing the frogs. The sun drenching everything.

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  4. Thank you, Jamie. I know what you mean. I'm so hugely grateful for getting to see this place, to see beauty and life rising out of so much turmoil. I will never forget it. :-)

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  5. I agree, Valerie. It just boggled the mind. There was no evidence, save for the cemeteries, until later on in the trip. Isn't it amazingly beautiful?! I remain in complete awe. :-)

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  6. I'm so, so glad, Amuse. :-) That makes me happy. :-)

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  7. It is so unfortunate that the tombstones and graves have to be mixed in with such beauty. Maybe it is a reminder that there is light and hope in the future, as long as we can learn from the past...

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  8. I love it when you show us small, beautiful moments. Thank you for being unwilling to leave one single beautiful thing unappreciated.

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  9. It is definitely that reminder to me, Joanne. Seeing those heart-rending and heart-glowing places made me so grateful for the good that has come out of my darkness.

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  10. Thank you, Maria. :-) I'm so glad you stopped by.

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  11. Oh Bekah, you always say just the right thing to encourage or comfort my heart. Thank you.

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  12. Your photographs are amazing. Thank you for sharing the incredible beauty of Bosnia.

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  13. Such beautiful photo's Krista. I've never made to Bosnia though was in nearby Croatia several years ago. My parents are both Croatian so I have a real connection to this part of the world

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  14. Thank you, Kathleen. I love this part of the world SO much and I'm very glad you like it too. :-)

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  15. Thanks very much, John. I love Croatia and Bosnia, and hope to post about Croatia very soon. :-)

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  16. That last photo of the punt is breathtaking. This sounds like a really fabulous holiday. Judging from your pictures it is a beautiful part of the world. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  17. I love that one too, Mary. :-) It was an wonderful holiday, eye-opening and heart-widening. :-) I am having a good day, thanks! :-)

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  18. Krista , that was a post that really set u thinkn !
    Beautiful pics and stunning ones at that!!!

    And babes u have jus won MY GIVEAWAY!!!
    csn GIVEAWAY....

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  19. Beautiful post, photos and lovely blog! Unfortunately I vowed not to sit in front of my computer this sunny sunday morning, but your blog got me hooked...It was a welcome surprise!

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  20. stunning, stunning post. Just amazing.

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  21. Thank you for continuing showing us these beautiful places. Please keep them coming!

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  22. it's so nice to know that beautiful, tranquil places like this still exist...it's easy to forget when living in a busy city like i do!
    xox alison

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  23. wow this is incredibly well written and beautiful photos :)

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  24. Absolutely beautiful images... a really calm place -love them!! Happy for you (you know that you are quite close to me...)

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  25. heartwrenching, but very beautiful photos!
    such a beautiful place, it seems so tranquil

    great blog btw

    genevieve
    http://untilthedayirunaway.blogspot.com

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  26. So sad, but your camera found beauty there. How wonderful you had the experience and shared it with us!

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  27. you have captured such beauty... God always gives us beauty for ashes <3
    in the midst of hillsides of sorrow, He is our Still Water, His reflection is pure... I pray for the sorrow in that nation that it may be turned to joy ...thank you for sharing your deep thoughts and amazingly captured photos.

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