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.