Diary of a Serbophile, Visit Serbia


July 1, 2018
Sale Dugokosi
San Issue 13 - Summer/Лето 2018


A country’s citizens generally see their country within a set of particular ways which, taken together, comprise a common vision. Canada is no different.

For some of us, it’s the social reality of immigration through interconnected cultures, a wealth cut from the quilt of the world’s diversity. Others see the economic potential of our vast natural resources, in the various opportunities they represent. But most often we recognise this country as a place of green wonder, and whose wilderness holds a natural beauty that is our signature in the world. Many of our citizens’ eyes are on environmental concerns and see the need for the conservation of our national parks and wildlife reserves.

It is with these eyes that I journey through Serbia and her neighbours every summer.

And it is through these eyes that I compare the things I have seen. I didn’t know what to expect when I would have before me a Serbian national park. But then it happened some time ago that my travels took me to the heart of Planina Tara. And it was there, my friends and loyal readers, that this strange mind I have was blown by such marvels as I had never imagined possible.

Trees that stand still when you stare at them but that walk on many legs out of the corner of one’s eye, and others that seem to audaciously defy gravity and somehow directly grow out of solid rock. Sweet spring waters that, by unseen forces, emerge out of nowhere and at once are flowing everywhere. Streams that sparkle with the sun’s kiss as they tumble and cascade out of a dense, leafy forest on a slope, exposing the natural arteries of an immense green heart. Vistas revealing verdant peaks and valleys with giant, flat snakes revering through them for as far as the eye can see. Even the creatures that crawl on the ground between the trees have bodies that shimmer with what appear to be the pieces of a puzzle-map of the known universe. There was magic everywhere. I treasure the memory of standing high up, close to the edge of the world overlooking the green waters of the Drina, and inhaling deeply an air brimming with life’s promise.

I have always breathed easier and thought clearer, and generally felt much better whenever I have found myself in a forest. Ja sam šumski čovek. At Tara’s summit, I discovered that this was part of why Serbia had begun to feel like a second home to me.


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