Wailana Kalama

Freelance Travel Writer

Postcard from Kernavė



Her headscarf was the color of daffodils, tightened into a knot at the base of her neck. 

Around me, people moved in and out of the village. We were in one of those heritage towns that reconstructed life in the Middle Ages. In times past, when a sliver of iron could buy you an estate. 

It was a day of learning about clay pottery, tools fashioned from bone, dyed wool and old-fashioned soap. Sticks of beeswax dripped from a line like icicles. Then I saw her. 

She must have been no more than five years old. She bent over a wooden trough, her hand outstretched. She was collecting leaves that had fallen into the shallow water. I watched her as she carefully picked them up, one by one. Her white-blonde hair trickled out of the scarf.  A simple, braided sash lay around her waist, pulling in her linen dress.  

No one moved her, or hurried her along. Her task enveloped her, protected her. It was as if a tiny universe had sprung up around her, stalling time.