There is something about those blue skies and towering peaks which makes you take a deep breath and exhale slowly. Stunning, isn't it? This is the view - or just one of the views, rather - from my sister's garden.
I must have taken 40 000+ photos of this very peak in the past 30 odd years, you know. I have been very restrained. And I will probably take millions more. I just never ever get tired of it, or the ways it changes through the seasons. And it is at the bottom part of this that I go on my walks through MY forest. Well, it feels like my own special perfect place, even as the developers start to cut down more trees and change it forever, but we will not go into that now, or I will have to start making a giant placard and go and start my one woman protest in the face of the appalling madness of the planners.
But I digress.
I have never forgotten the words of that consultant when he made the diagnosis of CRPS. "You will never walk in the mountains again..." and the determination that raged into being at the same moment inside my soul. NO-ONE is going to tell me I can't do something. Do you remember how I got my sister to drive me up to the path into MY forest?
It took forever and 2 leki poles to do the walk, but, I did it back then, and I make sure I do it every single time I come back. I CAN walk in the mountains. Maybe not the way I used to do it, and certainly never without pain (unless the temps are way below freezing then it all goes numb for the blessed duration of the walk and we will not discuss the thawing process either) but I do that walk, and it makes my heart sing.
See? There is my bench. The one I always get to, winter, spring, summer or autumn. I usually carry some plastic bags with me when it is winter, so I can always brush aside the snow and plonk the rear end down on it. Because this is where I sit. Always. And listen. And breathe and just be.
The trusty pole next to me. Shadows long, because there is not much time when the sun shines in the valley now that winter is approaching. The legs lead to the rear end which is, indeed, firmly plonked on that bench.
It is such a sense of accomplishment to be there. I walk to the grotto, a little further on first, and light the candles I came to light, and I sit a while in the silence (usually) of the grotto area, and God and I talk over the people I am missing, and remembering. And then we, the sticks and I slowly inch our way down the grotto path to the main path and there is my bench, just waiting for me. Time seems to slow, everything fades away, and it is just me there, in my forest, where leaves still fall and water still trickles.
I just never get tired of it. Ever.
Sometimes, we leave the mountain, and wind our way down the mountain to the city below. And we did this a few days ago. Switzerland does Christmas in a classy way, if you look at the nicest shopping centre around here. Missy would be happy, because this year, PINK is definitely a popular colour. Purple is too, and that is good because purple is Missy's second favourite colour......
That tall tree towers over 3 stories, and the huge hanging balls are all around as well.
I love seeing all the new decorations. That hanging circle is stunning. So much to see. So much to marvel over.
It is just all so different, and I love being down the mountain, but I tell you, as we whizz up the windy bends back to this valley, I just know that what we will reach is the best of all.
I was thinking a few days ago, about how God must have smiled when he created this valley he hid away so well. He must have known that countless centuries later, it would be Benedictine monks who would make the climb and discover the valley. That was in 1120. And it has been here through all the turmoil ever since.
I wonder how many more jewels He created and then, with a grin, hid. Is life a treasure hunt, do you think? Maybe. Perhaps.