windows

September 22, 2011

Fall is about to start and I have not shared much of my Summer with you…

These past weeks have just flown by ! No real stress but  various activities that kept me away from the PC. Let’s have a look at some of my Summer windows that will tell you a little more.

There were several  friends who stayed at home for  a while. Together we visited the old town of Fribourg and some of the small workshops. Behind the bars, an old low-ceilinged room or rather a real Aladdin’s cave with antique furnitures, lamps, dishes, jewels, coins, precious fabrics, and so much more. Having decided a while ago to do some serious clearing up, I resisted buying anything. Do not think though that I have not thought of it !In the same area of the old town, behind St-Nicholas’ Cathedral, there is a small art gallery I visit now and then. I went there with other friends on a rainy Sunday morning. A very colourful and joyful exhibition welcomed us. A painter/textile artist and a ceramist had created special artworks that I will show you in more details later. The gallery window showed a big white canvas where the Italian artist had sewn or stuck all kinds of fabrics and other materials. Fascinating ! And so inspiring. This is part of the view from our car window as we drove to the mountains with the family. Italy is right behind those mountains on the right but on that particular day we turned left to the Alps and the village where we took part in a family celebration.

Another view from our car window. We were driving on a highway along the Lake of Geneva.  Switzerland is on your right, the French shore on the left. The city of Geneva lies on the far end of the lake. On a clear day, at any hour but especially at sunset this landscape is just breathtaking. Can you spot the first autumnal mist on the French side ? Just in case you wonder about these two pictures … I was not the driver.

Up in the mountains and strolling through an almost abandonned hamlet. A young couple whose great-grandparents had lived there earlier had decided to restore their chalet. They started with the roof and the windows. I  must say it was a happy and encouraging sight for this tiny village is a precious memory of past times although modern additions (road, electricity…) make life easier up there.

A daily hike to high mountain pastures (about 7000ft). Two energetic dogs were so happy to meet and run together : a tourist Beagle 😉 (my Ninio) and a resident Jack Russel. A young French lady lives in the small stone house for the Summer Season while the cows graze up there. Her window opens on a bare landscape but for a few “arolle” trees. There are a special kind of pines (Pinus Cembra) which resist the low temperatures in Winter. Her window also opens on a vast corrie of mountains. The lady is the cheese maker of this particular pasture. The large round pieces of cheese she produces are very sought-after for their particular taste. If cows could speak, they would tell you how good the grass tastes up there with all the wild flowers covering the pastures from June till end of August.This is my kitchen window at home. One I never tire to look through at any Season. At this time of the year the greenness is dazzling. The rowan-tree attracts lots of birds who take their turn more or less patiently to eat its berries. It is noisy, happily so. The wheat field is blazing under the sun. In the evening I love to stand there and watch the sun disappearing slowly behind the forest. I am so lucky – and grateful – to live so close to nature !

Now, this is a window I could honestly have done without… Its unfathomable darkness saddens me so much. After camera and  printer let me down,  my laptop refused to respond and start. Yes ! Three devices I took for granted for years just went blank at a few months interval. I must add they all had almost the same age and probably were  tired of working. Or of me, who knows ? This black window is also a reason why I did not post much lately. I had to rely on other computers not always available. Now I am back to the family’s old PC.  I cross my fingers – and toes –  for the good old computer to last until I can offer myself a new computer !

Not being able to post much had also advantages : I read and sewed more 🙂

More about it later. So I hope !

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Back from the Alps

January 8, 2010

Just back  home from a stay in our Alps which happen to be in my home state, Valais. These  mountains stand at the border between Switzerland and France/Italy. Most of them are over 3000m high, some (including the Matterhorn or Cervin as we call it in French) over 4000m high. A mighty landscape some find overpowering. Personally these mountains fascinate me because they  seem to change according the season, the day and even the hour. Although we did have some patches of blue sky and luminous sunsets, the weather was rather grey and freezing during the Holiday Season. This year there were more icy paths and roads, violent storms, fog and avalanches than in the previous years . This is not really like the usual weather we enjoy up there. This area is well known for its ever present (or almost) sunshine.

At night time the landscape take a whole different look. Mountains look like a skyline in the horizon and the hills are covered by a multitude of lights. Villages are built  on the steep slopes and when the night falls around 5.30pm, the view is just breathtaking. Try to imagine the fireworks on December 31st in the same night… magic !

A last look at the Rhône Valley in the plain below before closing the shutters at night. Dreams can only be good 🙂

High Window

July 17, 2009

Verrey,+fenêtre+bleue

“Rather than words comes the thought of high windows:
The sun-comprehending glass,
And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows
Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless. ”

Excerpt of a poem by Philip Larkin

An old wooden house  in an almost deserted village. A  small window under the roof. No one is living there any longer. The curtain is pulled halfway across the opaque glass.   Just enough to let in a patch of blue sky. When I pass in front of the sunburnt wooden facade, I look up and imagine life that used to be behind the  high window.  Was it the bedroom of a large family or a bachelor’s housing ? A room under a corrugated iron roof that must have been too hot in Summer and freezing cold in Winter.  The stove was on the groundfloor, no heating upstair.

I imagine the thoughts that flew to the sky as a hand pulled the curtain.  Thoughts of  other places over the mountains. Desires of leaving the village for a better living. Dreams of knowing more of the world beyond the narrow valley.  Or were they thoughts of happiness  and comfort to live in the place of one’s roots ? I imagine the confidences swept away by the wind as one opened the high window… Cool mountain air that would refresh old walls and nurture one’s soul.  A small high window to let the sunshine in.

on the edge

June 28, 2009

on the edgeThere is this village up in the Alps,  a hamlet really, only a few chalets almost hanging from the steep slope. Hardly anyone lives there nowadays. It used to be a larger village where families of mountain farmers made their living in growing wheat, rye, vegetables on terraces.  Goats  provided milk and cheese and mules were the only means of transportation. No easy life up there but the necessity to cultivate every inch of soil.chèvreWhen I am in the area, I often walk to this village on a small track along a narrow irrigation canal. Water ! so precious at all times in such an environnement. The canal is called “bisse” over there and it is built in the same way as the Arabs did in Northern Africa, in the Atlas mountains. Arabs who did travel as far as the Swiss Alps  many centuries ago and who shared their knowledge about water supply.

bisse sous VerreyIn Summer the sun is hot in this micro climate. Coolness is provided by the gentle flow of the water in the canal and the shade in the woods. Tourists have discovered this pleasant walk  and enjoy hiking along the mountain slopes for miles. I love it up there. In all Seasons. In Winter it is easier to do snowshoeing. The silence is  palpable. Hardly any birds around but the mountain ones or those who did not migrate to warmer climes.Verrey, sentierIn the late Fall, I like to bring a book with me, sit along the track and read. Often my eyes lift from my reading and just look and admire this unique landscape all around. Sitting on the edge of the mountain, somewhere between sky and earth. The mountains towering above and the valley deep down below. I have walked on this path countless times, it is never the same and always a renewed pleasure, a deep gratitude for such a world we inherited and have to protect.verrey hameau

Almost snowed in

January 11, 2009

almost-snowed-inHello  and welcome to my blog ! Happy New Year to everyone !

I am Isa from Switzerland. This is from this spot in the Swiss Alps that I saw the first day of  2009 coming, the sun lit up this mountain on the opposite side of the valley and the day started beautifully. A sign maybe that this new year may be as bright as the moments  experienced up there ?  Who knows… There will be joy and sadness too but let’s wish that Hope will always be present. And Peace too. The kind of Peace that starts in your heart and spreads all around. These are my wishes for you and yours wherever you are.

The cosy chalet was almost snowed in.  Nothing but silence, occasionally the sound of a crow or a blue jay. Barely a few tracks, animals, snowshoes, skis. Cars were not exactly welcome on that morning, snow had fallen all night long and paths were invisible. A slow start of the year, peaceful hours to enjoy the present moment. There were quiet talks around the breakfast table, a smell of coffee and toasted brown bread but mostly the amazement and utter pleasure to find oneself in such a unique landscape, a snowy terrace between sky and earth with mountains as neighbours.