Firmly Perched on the Mountain

After four days in Leysin, we feel a peculiar effect: no desire to go down the mountain. Do we want to visit Lausanne? Gruyeres? No, not really. What is it about this sleepy mountain town that lures us, that seduces us, that has caused us to lose interest in anything else? I have no idea.

I think the yogis would say that the place has strong prana, or life force. There is a reason it became a healing place for TB patients early in the previous century. Even though I have had a cold, instinct tells me that getting outdoors is my best cure…and we have.

Today we took a long but gentle hike through rolling hills, forest-cushioned paths, and the occasional climb to pathways filled with hard ice. Our total walk time was about four hours, but it felt as effortless as an afternoon stroll. We didn’t take a lot of pictures. Most of the views we saw are views we have already recorded in some form. So it’s not like we are making new discoveries on our walks. They…just…feel…good.

Hiking paths in Switzerland are marked with yellow signs, and some intersections display an impressive number of options. On the right-hand side of each sign, the side with an arrow, a color-coded indicator tells us whether the hike is easy, moderate, difficult, or prepare to die, fool. On today’s adventures, our path was not so clearly marked, and we took several wrong turns. We shrugged our shoulders. So what? We found our way back, often without having to totally backtrack. In Leysin, meandering matters. There are no goals here, no accomplishments to be had, no place we have to be, other than to make sure we get to the restaurant while they are still serving lunch.

So we walk and we eat and we rest. We stay in the apartment in the evening, eating lightly after a big lunch. It also keeps our food bills down…restaurants here are profoundly expensive if you don’t like the fixed price option (which is a bit high, but more reasonable). Today’s fixed price options at our restaurant of choice included horse meat or baby pig, so we decided to order from the regular menu! We see horse troughs everywhere but no horses, seeing them only on the menus. We have eaten other meats we wouldn’t normally, such as veal and venison (both excellent, I might add), but neither of us is ready for horse. Funny how we’ll eat a cow without question but feel indignant about other animals. The cows around here are mighty cute, especially with their bells.

We have internet television, but channels are limited, and as I write this the internet is down, so we are even more isolated. I had tried, during my convalescence, to pull up a few American television shows, but most prohibit viewing outside of the U.S. The Daily Show is the only one I successfully watched.

So, here we are, isolated, away from civilization, cut off from our usual toys and distractions. Henry, who needs the internet to work, busied himself after our hike fixing the problem (which he did, obviously). For me, though, there was not much to do. I spent some time writing, letting new characters introduce themselves to me and whisper their stories in my ear…I read…I just stared out the window and watch the clouds drift by the mountains, sometimes at our eye level. Time to breathe. Time to dream. Time to invent.

The Type “A” part of me, which I honor as important, can take over every now and then and wreak havoc. Here in Leysin, with its fresh air and absolutely nothing to do, there is balance.

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