No Prayer Crossing


Photo: Faris Mohammed via Unsplash; Punakha, Bhutan


I glanced across the chasm. For someone born and raised in the Alps amidst sharp elevations, I was woefully unequipped. Sometimes I wondered what Karma I’d accumulated to explain it.

“You are protected, Dania.”

I looked up desperately at my mother, who wore an encouraging smile and already had one foot on the swaying bridge and a hand held out to assist me. Even as a baby I’d been known to tremble at the sight of any height, yet Mother’s optimism never wavered that one day her offspring would overcome what to her was an incomprehensible fear. She adored climbing.

Why she took me to Bhutan.

“This bridge is blessed,” my mother tried. “You’ll come to no harm.”

“I cannot,” I whispered, my legs shaking. Each prayer flag a flutter to match mine, the river vertiginous miles below. “No prayer will suffice. My very soul knows it’ll die.”



For What Pegman Saw: Bhutan


37 thoughts on “No Prayer Crossing

  1. I was actually here when you mentioned you joining in. But my phone is being a scmuch and I have to go through the reader to like and comment on your post (and a few others)
    Methinks this poor little one will never follow in her mother’s footsteps…
    Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Dale! I have notifications disabled on my phone because I won’t get anything done … so I have to do the reader thing (or the email), too! πŸ™‚
      As for this gal, I agree. I don’t think she’s going to be climbing Everest in this lifetime!


    • Thank you! I hope she does, too, though I’m not sure that her mother’s hope that the daughter will just snap out of a fear of height is based in much reality … My hopes for Dania is that she’ll find a way to manage her fears functionally. This does not need to mean crossing bridges in Bhutan for fun … πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, my friend. I do not have fear of heights myself but some people close to me do have to manage it, and I know that many things I take for granted as easy to do, are a supreme effort of will over panic and mind over feeling-of-doom for them to do.
      I think that barring an emergency when no other option might exist, there’s no need for people who don’t like heights to be forced to be (or shamed into) crossing bridges over chasms or to live/work on the umpteenth floor or to climb mountains for entertainment or to walk tightropes or take the elevator to observatories …
      Plenty of loveliness in this world without needing to constantly manage heights.


    • I got it, auto-correct or not … for I think that some technical gadget have inner traits that can sometimes immediately lend themselves to the word … In any of its spellings (come to think of it, Auto Correct is one such ‘trait’… πŸ˜‰ ).
      I donnow why notifications sometimes don’t come through, and why even signing up for emails doesn’t mean I get all the emails … Every time I go into the “Reader” I find posts from people I KNOW I’ve subscribed to email notifications from and yet hadn’t received some or all. Go figure.
      As for love of heights – yep, ain’t in the gal’s genes. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That was so well written, the fear I thought had fled me, returned … at least in the bodily manifestation. I’m looking at it, shaking my head, going No, no, no. Yet a blink, and look at the photo and not the prose, and I’m fine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh oh, Crispina! I’m sorry for the visceral response, even as I am somewhat gratified that my words painted an internal picture for you … Fear of height, I’m told, is like hitting a brick wall of panic. I can understand it to some degree, for I think all of us have some things that awaken similar responses, even if they might be less defined or less commonly met. Nonetheless, I’m grateful to not have a fear of heights myself. I know people who do, and it can make life–and travel, especially–pretty complicated.
      Look only where it feels safer …
      And … thank you for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yea but I mean it. I was still much reduced by long-term CFS (ME) when I started this blog in 2012. But in 2015 (I think it was) I stumbled upon the cure (since confirmed by the research of a UK medical practitioner who had to leave the NHS in order to treat her patients). Anyway, in reporting my recovery, which included the total reversal of diabetes type II, I believe I also mentioned the virus that in 2006 had finally brought me the CFS diagnosis (though not the cause of the CFS which had kicked off five years earlier). It was that virus, which ripped through my brain and caused total havoc which rid me of the phobia. Connections broken, you see. As was my recall of names to fix to faces and my ability to write. But the brain is a wondrous organ. It’s exceedingly good at self-repair. With a little persistence.
        And there, you see, you’ve tricked me into telling the story, though not scarcely coherent with total disregard for chronology.
        I hadn’t realised I’d lost the phobia until walking the cliff top with my daughter and she suddenly noticed. ‘Hey Mum, you’re walking close to the edge. You’re not scared.’ Yea, more, I’ve since taken photos looking straight down. No great height, but enough for a fall to be fatal. And I was scared upon a chair. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You are such a compelling writer. Thank you, Na’ama. πŸ’šβœ¨πŸ’š

    Adele Ryan McDowell, Ph.D.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Even holding the Almighty’s hand, I’m not sure that I would be able to cross this bridge. I freak out at the little 10 ft long rope bridge over the creek only 4 foot below. Great take on the prompt! ~Shalom, Bear

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The fear here is crippling, Na’ama, I feel it acutely. And such a desolate sense that all the prayers, all those prayer flags won’t help. She is stuck. And nothing is going to move her.

    I really liked the simplicity yet depth of this story. Which is definitely your signature style as I have seen in your book Outlawed Hope. For which I am 71% through I think and just been wrong-footed wonderfully by Aimee’s exploits.

    Liked by 1 person

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