Monday, December 22, 2014

Beyond Interlaken Switzerland

Beyond Interlaken

Swirling clouds  are prayers to the sublime. Water white from recent familiarity with glacial slopes plays with river rocks. Cows with discordant bells move at the speed of grass under mountains clothed with a chasuble of autumn ochres woven so finely. For a moment the tulle of clouds parts to reveal far peaks of brilliant white. The ultramarine lake is gently patterned stroked by the breeze. The church clock intones an invitation and we walk back to the train past wooden houses with finely carved Bible verse and brilliant displays of red geraniums.

There are dragon tracks here,  between silver rails, the teeth of the rack railway and the scent of oil mixes with the piquant aroma of cow. Tiny trains climb improbable gradients. I look through the oil smeared rainbow of a window, into the cab of an old box square locomotive of riveted iron and wood to a shelf of  brass and wood, dials and handles. A sleeping dragon with her pantograph wings folded, away from the fire,  resting under the shingled roof of worn sheds roofline shaped by the winter snow roosting there each year. Heaped stone ballast and the sharp blade of the snow plough reminders that these rich green fields and town prepare for the blizzard of snow where the mountain reaches down to invite these pastures to dance the dance of silent snow.

On the street great balls of sculptured stone, overhead water falling vertically from a high crag crossed by the horizontal movement of the yellow Post Bus. Angles of buildings an essence of Swiss.

To me a visitor this scene is impossible. Its as if various old photographs and tea towels brought home from holidays by my grandparents had been stitched together and the tiny clock with its  dangling weights and little roof had suddenly magically expanded into a house before my eyes, the church bell and mechanical clock alongside the sun driven clock adding verisimilitude. Then that moment passes and I am here now, not that wide eyed boy in shorts who thought that a clock that went to 17 might be possible since 17 was his special number. Twelve is so conventional  and confining after all. That boy like this man scents a wild time that runs away joyously.

The train, at this distance a toy in a shop window, traversing the slope each carriage containing a satchel of stories moving between light and shadow inviting me to ride. As I turn,  do I catch a glimpse of the mad philosopher's improbable mustache warning me that without the rack rail of a wider vision I may attempt too much. My inner wild dragon must rest as well as play. At this moment I feel for his solitary striving and yearning and once again am grateful for this family with whom I travel in experiences of travel.

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