Hiking steeply uphill, every part of me working like a finely-tuned machine. The air at 2000 metres was thinner, so I stopped frequently to listen to the delicate spring overture which was developing all around me. The tinkling of unseen icy streams, birds everywhere singing their distinctive melodies of love, and a sweet wind which gently tousled my hair, the dry grasses and high pine boughs around me. I felt like the first woman in the world. The snow had all but disappeared in the forest, and with every resounding footfall on the rough track I became aware of how all my senses were alive to the steady pulse of Mother Nature. Heart beating bass, with all my noisy thoughts and fears softly bathed and left still. No other human sounds – we are just meddlesome and inconsequential in the grand scheme of things after all. I was following a signposted track, and higher up stumbled upon a mountain hut. It was around midday, so I sat in the bright sunlight and unpacked my lunch and rolled my trousers up to catch the first sunbeams of the year. It didn’t feel satisfactory; and as the songbirds called, golden eagles wheeled on the thermals in the valley overlooking the Eiger while the sun caressed my face – I took off my clothes and lay down on some dry moss. I dozed, aware of all the sounds around and fragments of bliss seeping through my bloodstream. The sun began to tilt to the right, and I stretched luxuriously on my fragrant bed knowing that I should continue my walk uphill, or else return the way that I had come. Not wishing to follow the same path, I felt that I could continue upwards in order to go down on a new route. Dressing languidly, and wondering at what had conspired to shed my clothes I set out. But this time feeling a trickle of fear at the thought of bears coming out of hibernation and the instinctive path into the unknown.
To be continued.
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